Childhood Obesity and the Toxic Environment
34% of US children are overweight or obese, a striking rise in the last twenty years. We are beginning to develop a better understanding of why the rise in obesity is occurring, and so rapidly.
Several authors have coined the term, “toxic environment” to describe the setting in which so many children find themselves today. This “toxic environment” includes neighborhood and school settings that no longer encourage physical activity. It includes home and daycare environments that involve a great deal of television and other sedentary “screened” activities, rather than outdoor physical ones. It is an environment that provides excessive calories at every meal, and in between meals. It is an environment that has seen a tremendous growth in the production and provision of high calorie simple carbohydrates.
Young people today have had no significant alterations in their genetics over 20 or 30 years. As humans all our biology is the same. What is radically different is the environment in which these children find themselves.
More about what we can do to help prevent childhood obesity from affecting our children in the next post.