Childhood Obesity to Grow

June 24/New York/Datamonitor -– A recent report from Datamonitor finds that childhood obesity in the U.S. is expected to grow through 2014. Among the issues fueling this trend are increasingly sedentary lifestyles, high consumption of "indulgent" foods, and parents’ struggle to maintain a healthy diet for their kids. 

In the U.S., the 2008 National Poll on Children’s Health found that 30% of parents with overweight or obese children do not set limits on TV, video games or computer games for their offspring. Parents of overweight or obese children were also more likely to rate neighborhood safety and lack of opportunities for physical activity as top health concerns for kids. 

The research by Datamonitor found that two out of every five children in the U.S. (40.7%) between 5-13 are currently obese or overweight.  This number is expected to climb to 43.4% by 2014.  

The increasingly sedentary lifestyle of children is partially to blame. Parents cite, though, concerns for their child’s safety and the fear of strangers when discouraging outdoor play. The U.S. has also become accustomed to traveling, even short distances, in their automobiles. Although this will be a hard habit to break, society has recognized the importance of rectifying this behavioral pattern if children are going to learn to live healthy lifestyles now and into adulthood. 

Children in the Americas are also eating confectionary snacks at an astonishing rate. Children between 5-13 in the Americas are consuming confectionary snacks at more than twice the rate of the overall population (per capita). This places an impetus on sector players to provide candies with healthier ingredients and fewer calories to counter the obesity crisis amongst children. 

Although, globally, parents with children ages 5-13 are more likely to make conscious decisions to eat healthier, parents often struggle to maintain a healthy diet for their kids. Other trends such as smaller family size, dual parental incomes, and the postponement of having children is giving families more disposable income which they use to satiate their child’s pestering for unhealthy food choices. Parents are also using material goods to compensate their children reduced family-time which often lead to poor purchasing decisions.

From the July 6, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition