Obesity Top Concern for Parents

Obesity ranks as high as drug abuse on the list of parents’ concerns in the U.S., according to a recent National Poll on Children’s Health.

Researchers at the University of Michigan polled a cross-section of more than 2,000 adults about a variety of health concerns and risks for children. Overall, the poll showed that childhood obesity ranked among 33 percent of parents as a potential problem — the same percentage that ranked drug abuse as an issue for children and teens. STORY CONTINUES BELOW VIDEO

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Other issues, such as teen pregnancy, smoking and bullying ranked next in the poll. The list also included concerns such as sexting, car wrecks, stress, Internet safety and drinking.

Approximately 17 percent of children in the U.S. are clinically obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), but sadly, the level of public concern has declined over the past few years of the poll. Dr. Matthew Davis, an associate professor at the University of Michigan Medical School and Director of the National Poll on Children’s Health, said this trend may be a warning to public health officials, because it indicates that the public perception is that obesity rates among children have recently leveled off.

Parents who are concerned about childhood obesity can help combat the issue by encouraging activity and healthful eating for all members of the family. By setting a good example and providing a stable foundation for healthy living at home, parents can help children avoid excess weight gain at the most crucial stages of development.