Childhood obesity can have lasting impacts on communities.
Today, several physicians and educators gathered to discuss how to combat the problem.
“There are vast implications of childhood obesity, it is not just about eating, it’s not just about exercise, there are psychological aspects, there are so many things that we need to learn about childhood obesity in order to help our community,” said Jennifer Nickell, a family and community health agent.
Childhood obesity is on the rise across the United States and doctor LajJohn Quigley tells us it is something impacting us locally.
“If we look at ourselves now as adults, the percentage is about 37% of obesity rates in the United States, that rate is now about 18.5% in children, it used to be about 14% so each year we are seeing that steadily increase, what we are wanting to do is early intervention so if we can cut that number off before they become adults, we will have a significant impact,” said Dr. LaJohn Quigley, a bariatric surgeon and assistant professor at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center.
Dozens of educators, physicians, and community members gathered this morning to discuss the impact of obesity in children and how to combat the problem.
“So childhood obesity starts clearly with the family so coming up with ways the family can come up with healthier habits together, whether that be eating, your mental health or just physical activity,” added Nickell.
Dr. Quigley is a bariatric surgeon and tells us there are certain factors that can increase a child’s risk of becoming obese.
“Really the more you are as far as lower poverty rates, minorities, they are more at risk so the lower income that you have the higher that you are going to be going to fast-food and eating things that are unhealthy, you can’t make really high choices in food, if you don’t have the money to afford it.”
Quigley says there are resources available to families who may be dealing with childhood obesity at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center.