As obesity rates have increased dramatically over the last 30 years in the U.S. in both adults and children, obesity has become a national epidemic. Data from the CDC from 2003-2004 and 2005-2006 indicated that two-thirds of U.S. adults were either obese or overweight. Based on representative samples of U.S. children, nationally 1/3 of children are overweight or obese.
According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we are raising the first generation of youth who will live sicker and shorter lives than their parents. Childhood obesity has become an epidemic with tripling of prevalence rates since 1980. According to a recent report published by Trust for America's Health, Nebraska ranks as having the 21st highest percent of obese and overweight children in the U.S., with 31.5% of Nebraska children measured as obese or overweight.
The childhood obesity epidemic disproportionately affects children who are minority, live in poverty, and/or live in neighborhoods without access to healthy foods and safe play spaces. These disparities are demonstrated nationally and in our communities across Nebraska. The economic burden of the obesity epidemic on our communities is high. Rising healthcare costs, decreased workforce productivity, increased school absenteeism rates have an economic effect on all of our citizens.