Childhood Obesity

  • 1 out of every 3 American youth are overweight or obese and the remaining 2/3’s lifestyle put them at risk for becoming obese.(37,000 Atlanta youth ages 11-14 are overweight or obese and 60,000 are at risk)
  • The rate of childhood obesity has tripled in the past 30 years
  • Is prevented with physical activity, healthy nutrition and reduced screen time.

Why the dramatic increase in just 30 years?

  • Technology/Media/Entertainment- youth ages 8-18 spend 7.5 hrs per day in front of screens, 3.5 hrs is watching T.V. (does not include school work)
    • Safe, cheap afterschool environment for youth with working parents
    • Passive activity combined with eating processed foods and drinking sugary beverages
  • 21 million Youth ages 8-12 spend $30 billion of their own money and influence $130 billion of their parents money
  • Advertisers seeking “cradle to the grace” loyal customers spend more than $17 billion dollars on sophisticated marketing to exploit the developmental vulnerabilities of youth.

As a consumer nation (70% of America’s GDP is consumption), we can’t stop the proliferation of exploitative marketing to youth. But, we can teach youth to become media savvy by analyzing media content to make informed choices regarding physical activity and nutrition and producing various forms of media content to influence healthy lifestyle choices to their peers and community.