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“˜Recession Obesity’ Impacting US Children

June 4, 2009

A new report issued on Wednesday shows how current economic turmoil is causing US parents to feed their children cheaper, fast food meals rather than healthy ones. This tactic has apparently resulted in an increase in childhood obesity.

“There is concern with ‘recession obesity’ apart from the general trend toward an increasing number of obese American children,” said Kenneth Land, project director of the Child Well-Being Index.

“There is a concern that parents will substitute fast food, high carbohydrate and high sugar-content food, for healthy food and that this will cause an uptick in the rate of overweight children and adolescents,” said Land, a sociology professor at Duke University.

Duke University researchers studied a variety of indicators to form the 2009 Child Well-Being Index, which calculates the health and economic status of US children. The new report is the first to reflect how the ongoing recession is impacting children in America.

One year ago, 32 percent of US children were found to be overweight, while 16 percent were obese, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The report attributed the increase in childhood obesity between 1980-199 to high-sugar and fat diets with a decreased intake of fruits and vegetables, according to AFP, which cited the JAMA study.

Obesity at a young age can increase the risk of health problems such as type-2 diabetes and heart disease later in life.

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