More children are overweight and obese than ever before:

Obesity rates for children ages 6 through 11 have more than tripled over the past three decades. Not only have the rates increased, but according to the most recent Centers for Disease Control's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the heaviest children are markedly heavier than those in previous surveys.

Children with adult diseases:

Diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, once seen primarily in adults, have increased significantly in children over the past two decades as a result of overweight and obesity.

Childhood Overweight and obesity is a multi-factorial problem:

  • Sedimentary lifestyles: Video games, television watching, decreased physical activity programs in schools, and other societal changes have discouraged physical activity both at school and after school hours.
  • Availability of too many high-calorie, high sugar foods.
  • Lack of at-home family meals: Many parents never acquired the knowledge to determine healthy meals for their children or have not developed the skill and desire to prepare such meals.
  • Schools no longer support the teaching of cooking skills in the classroom.

We're up against big budgets

Fast food outlets spend $3 billion in television ads targeted to children. Food and beverage advertisers collectively spend $10 to $12 billion annually to reach children and youth:

  • More than $1 billion is spent on media advertising to children (primarily on TV)
  • More than $4.5 billion is spent on youth-targeted public relations.
  • $3 billion is spent on packaging designed to appeal to children

Too many calories and not enough nutrition

At the same time that many children are overweight or obese, many children have diets that are deficient in one or more nutrients, leaving them in a state of under-nutrition, or malnourishment.

Only 21 percent of young people eat the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day

Nearly half of all vegetable servings are fried potatoes

Many children don't know or understand where food comes from; they don't recognize whole foods like potatoes, tomatoes, and onions, but can identify French fries, ketchup, and chicken nuggets.