Obesity Threatens a Generation

This all just makes me so sick to my stomach and sad. I just put in some of the first article, but there are 3 articles already in addition to videos.

An epidemic of obesity is compromising the lives of millions of American children, with burgeoning problems that reveal how much more vulnerable young bodies are to the toxic effects of fat.

Virtually every major organ is at risk. The greater damage is probably irreversible.

Doctors are seeing confirmation of this daily: boys and girls in elementary school suffering from high blood pressure, high cholesterol and painful joint conditions; a soaring incidence of type 2 diabetes, once a rarity in pediatricians' offices; even a spike in child gallstones, also once a singularly adult affliction.

Because studies indicate that many will never overcome their overweight -- up to 80 percent of obese teens become obese adults -- experts fear an exponential increase in heart disease, strokes, cancer and other health problems as the children move into their 20s and beyond. The evidence suggests that these conditions could occur decades sooner and could greatly diminish the quality of their lives. Many could find themselves disabled in what otherwise would be their most productive years.

The cycle of obesity and disease seems to begin before birth: Women who are overweight are more likely to give birth to bigger babies, who are more likely to become obese. "And so you build it up over generations," said Matthew Gillman, associate professor of ambulatory care and prevention at Harvard Medical School. "You get an intergenerational vicious cycle of obesity and disease."

RWJ Foundation: anti-obesity efforts