About one in three American children is overweight or obese and at risk for diabetes. According to the CDC obese youth are more prone to cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Most worryingly the CDC states:
“Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis. One study showed that children who became obese as early as age 2 were more likely to be obese as adults.”
Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign is built to fight childhood obesity, and like everything in politics these days, has met with controversial results. Even critics of the plan though admit that the best results have been shown in the children who were offered healthier menu items early in life. The politics and effects of the rest of the “Let’s Move” campaign aside, experts say the drop in early childhood obesity is a promising sign since it suggests kids may be learning healthy habits earlier. This is reinforced by the findings on Childobesity180.org
ChildObesity180.org have released an article summarizing a number of promising finds regarding the effect of menu offerings:
“According to new research published today in the November issue of Health Affairs, customers at one restaurant chain that began offering healthier kids’ meals in April 2012 have continued to choose the healthier options more than two years later.”
The research has demonstrated that changing what was offered led to a sustained change in decision making when it came to making healthier food choices. In some cases they even improved further.
What this shows is that if healthy choices are left as the default option kids are more likely to eat healthy, and more interestingly, choose to be healthy when presented with other choices in the future. Also, the earlier the better.
Here is another surprising factoid as well:
“Moreover, including more healthy options on the menu has not hurt overall restaurant revenue and may have even supported continued growth. Total annual revenue across all of the restaurant chain’s locations grew by 5.3 percent from 2013 to 2014, exceeding the average revenue growth in leading family dining chains.”
Hopefully this can provide enough of an incentive for major restaurants to begin to follow suit. more money, more health. Doesn’t sound too bad and anything that can assist in reducing America’s obesity epidemic is a good step.
check out the original article and its supporting data here: