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Child obesity is currently America's biggest health care crisis, experts said, urging parents to ban television in bedrooms and lawmakers to put a tax on sugar-laden sodas.Child obesity is currently America’s biggest health care crisis, experts said, urging parents to ban television in bedrooms and lawmakers to put a tax on sugar-laden sodas.

Statistics are showing a record number of obese kids. If a child suffers from obesity, the child also has a higher risk of diabetes, heart/kidney disease, and hypertension

In a recent study a research team looked at the National Health and Nutrition Survey data on 12,384 youths, ages 2 to 19 years, and discovered that the prevalence of severe obesity rose from 0.8 percent in the period from 1976 to 1980 to 3.8 percent in 1999 to 2004. Severe obesity correlates to a body mass index that is equal to or greater than the 99th percentile for age and gender.

The obesity problem has a basic cause: People are eating too much unhealthy food. A study presented recently at the European Congress on Obesity determined that Americans’ weight gain over the last 30 years could be linked almost solely to changes in food consumption.

The U.S. presently spends more than $100 billion annually on obesity-related health care expenditures. Moreover, as today’s children — heavier than any generation in history — reach adulthood, these costs will rise even higher.

However obesity is not just a health problem. It is a national economic problem that will become more prominent as the country debates the cost of health care reform.

The numbers do not lie:

•    Between 1998 and 2006, the prevalence of obesity went up by 37 percent
•    This jump in obesity has added 40 billion dollars to the yearly health care bill.
•    The medical costs for an obese person are 42 percent higher than non-obese people.
•    The total health care costs of obesity are as high as $147 billion annually. Obesity is now responsible for 9.1 percent of annual medical costs.

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