Editorial: No excuse for child obesity

Parents, we're losing a critical battle.

A new report unveiled this past Thursday on Capitol Hill revealed a trend that is frightening to say the least: Arizona had the seventh-highest rate of obesity in 2011 for children ages 10 to 17.

Nothing about this is good. And there are no valid excuses why we as parents should be allowing this deadly trend.

Yes, deadly.

Someone who is 40 percent overweight is twice as likely to die prematurely as is a suggested-weight person. Obesity has been linked to several serious medical conditions, including heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, gallbladder disease, and even breathing problems.

Obesity in kids, tragically, is even worse. It can have a severe impact on kids' health while they are still developing. And cost? The report - by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation - said annual health costs for an obese child average nearly $6,800, compared to an average of $2,450 per child for all children.

How widespread is all this? The report concludes that 19.8 percent of Arizona youth are obese.

Come on, people. This is not rocket science. This has little to do with the economy or politics or the Constitution or anything else we choose to argue and obfuscate over, or worse yet to point fingers that someone else is to blame.

While treatment for childhood obesity can be based on a kid's age and other possible medical conditions, the Mayo Clinic puts it simply at the very top of available treatments: changes in your child's diet and level of physical activity.

Changes in your child's diet and level of physical activity.

Put more fruits and veggies in your kitchen and limit sweetened drinks for starters. Physical activity burns calories and builds strong bones and muscles.

There you go.

Interestingly, the same report indicates that the rate of obesity among adults appears to have slowed.

Good for them. We wonder when parents will get around to saving their kids' health.