From USA Today:
"Overweight kids are costing America billions"
The best way to set your kid up for financial success can be a nest egg, a grandparent's inheritance or a healthy 529 plan. Or, it could be as simple as keeping them in shape. A Johns Hopkins University study found overweight people, over the course of a lifetime, spend an average of about $30,000 more than healthy people on medical conditions associated with obesity, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, heart attacks, heart failure and certain types of cancers. That's not to mention the amount they lose through missed work, disability and early death. Overweight people, the study found, lose about $93,000 in wages over a lifetime as a result of obesity-related conditions, nearly double people of normal weight, who lose somewhere in the range of $44,000 and $49,000. Study leader Dr. Bruce Y. Lee, executive director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center at Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health, argue these numbers are higher for people with obesity. Lee and his colleagues sought to put a dollar number on obesity and how it affects society. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state more than a third of U.S. adults are obese as well as 17% of children and adolescents. While the numbers speak volumes, Lee argued, “The magnitude is not clear.” He and his team created simulations of all of America’s 31.7 million children age 8 through 11. They tracked their health day-by-day, including what they ate and their daily activities. The goal: Determine how a child’s level of physical activity in youth would affect them throughout life. The study found a child’s weight depended on the amount of physical activity they received. Previous research, Lee explained, showed people who have high body mass indexes at the age of 18 are likely to have a high BMI throughout adulthood. The research, published in Monday's Health Affairs, found about 8.1 million of today’s children age 8 through 11 would be obese by 2020 if they maintained their current level of physical activity. That would result in $2.8 trillion in additional lost wages and medical costs throughout their lifetimes alone. The researchers calculated what a modest exercise regimen would do to the numbers. They found if half of America’s children age 8 through 11 exercised for 25 minutes, three times a week, there would be 340,000 fewer overweight and obese children, saving $21.9 billion in lifetime lost wages and medical bills. If all children followed the same plan, 1.2 million children would avoid becoming obese or overweight, enough to save $62.3 billion. Lee said the research shows childhood obesity isn’t just a problem isolated to a few people. Obesity-related cost burdens to insurance companies are passed on to customers in the form of higher premiums, he said, not to mention an increased tax burden and the impact on business. Exercise, he said, is "good for the nation's bottom line." “This shows this is a collective thing,” he said. “These costs will continue each year that nothing is done.” Lee said the figures in the study are underestimated, because they don’t include other benefits of exercise, such as improvement to mood, muscle and bone density. It’s also evidence, Lee claims, for investment in physical education, school recess and youth sports leagues. In 2013, the CDC found fewer than half of America’s high school students attended a physical education class in a given week. A 2013 Oregon States University study found physical education requirements had dipped to 39%, an all-time low. “As the prevalence of childhood obesity grows, so will the value of increasing physical activity,” Lee said. “We need to be adding physical education programs and not cutting them. We need to encourage kids to be active, to reduce screen time and get them running around again. It’s important for their physical health – and the nation’s financial health.”
^ A main reason American children are getting so fat is because American society has decided that rather than solving this health issue to embrace it. Nowadays you are a "bully" if you call someone fat. And overweight people (kids and adults) are told not to change themselves because they are healthy and perfect as they are. I am all for positivity, but not at the expense of someone's health. If someone is ugly, but healthy than they shouldn't change a thing, but when someone is fat they usually aren't healthy and so they should change (not to be a size 0, but to not get Type 2 Diabetes or any of the hundreds of other diseases and illnesses that fat people are more likely to get and that often lead to a disability or even death.) ^