PHOENIX — A Valley doctor is urging the community to come together and fight child obesity, a rising health care epidemic in both Arizona and the United States.
“Obesity in children has now risen to epidemic proportions,” said Dr. Donald McClellan, a pediatric endocrinologist with Phoenix Children’s Hospital. “We need to get people to understand that it’s everybody’s problem.”
People tend to blame an obese child on the parents — some even on the pregnancy — but McClellan said it takes a village to raise a child.
“We’ve got to make some decisions in the educational arena, which would include not only (physical education), but healthy lunches at schools,” he said. “The easy foods to provide for schools lunches, like pizza, and all that aren’t necessarily bad in and of themselves, but they are less desirable when they’re eaten every day.”
Last year, Arizona was among the worst states for childhood obesity. A report said 19.8 percent of Arizona youth were obese, compared to a high of 21.7 percent in Mississippi and a low of 9.9 percent in Oregon.
The increase in Arizona youth obesity came as the national rate was declining, according to the 2011 National Survey of Children’s Health, one of the sources on which the report is based. The survey said the U.S. rate fell from 16.4 percent in 2007 to 15.7 percent in 2011, while Arizona’s rate grew from 17.8 percent to 19.8 percent in that time.
To help parents, McClellan recommended the 95210 program for elementary school kids.
“Nine is for nine hours of sleep, the five is for five servings of fruits or vegetables a day, two is for no more than two hours of screen time in a day, one hour of physical activity and then zero sugary drinks,” he said.
Earlier this year, PCH announced it was throwing its weight into the fight against childhood obesity by opening a specialized clinic.
“The fight needs to happen on multiple grounds,” Kristen Samaddar, a PCH pediatrician, said at the July announcement. “It’s going to have to happen with better awareness by doctors about the problem, and knowing what resources we can provide, and what works and what doesn’t work.”
Obesity in children can severely impact their health while they are still developing, leading to a wide range of problems. A 2013 report said annual health costs for an obese child average nearly $6,800, compared to an average of $2,450 per child for all children.
September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.
KTAR’s Cooper Rummell and Cronkite News’ Chad Garland contributed to this report.
- 7 common ways to get sued by your employees
- Why it might be time to upgrade your toilet
- Arizona teachers are building a better future by using technology in the classroom
- How to make summer reading fun for the whole family
- How to find relief for chronic joint pain
- Can the NBA Lottery save the Suns?
- Skip Urgent Care: 5 ailments you can treat with telemedicine
- Skin Cancer in Arizona: Stats, facts and new immunotherapy drugs making strides
- Distracted walking injuries end up not so funny
- Scary situations: 5 quick tips before you let a contractor in your home
- Four ways telemedicine is changing the health care industry
- 5 mistakes homeowners make in the spring
- Three rivers run through it: Exploring Arizona's waterways
- Smart home basics: things you need to know to get started
- 5 Surprising things causing back pain
- Arizona agriculture is a $17.1B industry
- Timeline: Arizona's roots in brewing history
- 5 reasons to love the D-backs this season
- Tips for taking your home entertainment experience to the backyard
- Tech-related injuries your parents never experienced
- Workers comp: Signs your co-worker could be a fraud
- Who's the real founder of America's pastime?
- Epidemic rising? What you need to know about Alzheimer's in Arizona
- 5 unforgettable Wooden Award winners
- Family and hard work are keys to success of modern dairy farmers
- Genetic testing could hold answers for colon cancer survival
- Cold beers and baseball: A beer lover's guide to Spring Training
- Telecommuting: 5 tips to make it work for employers and employees
- See how top CFOs feel about economic growth in the Valley
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments