Obesity is no longer a middle-aged battle. It has become an epidemic among America's youth, including in Abilene.
It's a problem local cardiologists say contributes to the number one killer of Americans--heart disease. Cardiologist Dr. Ralph McCleskey says child obesity can seemingly age kids physiologically. For instance, an obese 30-year-old can take on the health problems often contracted at the age of 50, like heart problems. Abilene dietitians report a growing rate of obese kids in area schools. Here are some of the latest statistics:
According to a 2002 SPAN (School Physical Activity and Nutrition) study of AISD students:
- Boys 4th grade 39% classified as overweight and/ or obese
- Girls 4th grade 30% classified as overweight and /or obese
- Boys 8th grade 43% classified as overweight and or obese
- Girls 8th grade 44% classified as overweight and or obese
- Boys 11th grade 34% classified as overweight and /or obese
- Girls 11th grade 26% classified as overweight and / or obese *Compared to other Texas regions, this is slightly higher than most.
According to a 2005 DSHS (Department of State Health Services) study of a region including the Abilene area and the metroplex combined:
- School-aged kids: 41% are over-weight or obese
- Adults: 63% are over-weight or obese *Compared to other Texas regions, this is slightly lower than most.
The American Heart Association in Abilene has started fund-raising for its 2010 Heart Walk. The event will be October 2nd at Abilene's Nelson Park. For more information, visit http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=1200343&division=SCA014.