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Obesity Risk for Children Increases in Summer

By Daniel Cherry | Published 07 Jun 2012 06:09pm | comments

During the summer months, many children can put on weight two to three times faster than when they're in school according to a recent study. MPB's Daniel Cherry has more on a growing health problem.

More than 40 percent of children in Mississippi are overweight or obese according to the state Department of Health. Gary Huggins, CEO of the National Summer Learning Association says the problem is getting worse.

"The screen time and the computers and there's so much on TV. Those kind of activities that are so tempting to drive them away from being outside, to drive them away from physical activity. Those kinds of things really contribute as well."

Lack of activity over the summer can reverse health benefits gained over the past year. Dr. Will Sorey is Director of the Children's Clinic at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He says diabetes in children was unheard of 20 years ago, now that and other problems are prevalent.

"I have school age children that have sleep apnea because their neck is thick, they have obesity complications that mess up your airway. It's a real problem. It used to just be old man disease, now it cuts across males and females, young and old."

Along with exercise, nutrition is a major factor. Becky Bounds, Assistant Child Nutrition Director for the Mississippi Department of Education, says the state gives out about thirty thousand meals a day to children in low-income areas.

"There are no sodas around. There are no candy bars or fast food type items. All of the food that we serve the students are what we consider, nutrient dense."

Studies say six of every seven children relying on school lunch programs don't have access to healthy meals over the summer.

Click for the full study of Summertime Obesity Risk from the National Summer Learning Association

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