Horizon American’s love of fast food, sweets, salt-laden prepared foods and super-size servings is exacting a high price on our children. Childhood obesity rates have tripled over the past three decades, according to Let’s Move, the federal website associated with First Lady Michelle Obama’s healthy kids’ initiative. Today, one in three U.S. kids is overweight or obese with the risk rising to 40% for children of Hispanic and African American descent. 

Children Face Adult Health Problems

As a result, a growing number of children are at serious risk of developing chronic adult health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea. Now a new study adds early puberty to the obesity risk list.

“The girls who are obese are clearly maturing earlier,” Dr. Frank Biro, a pediatrics professor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center told NBC News. “BMI (Body Mass Index) is, we found, the biggest single factor for the onset of puberty.”

8-Year-olds With Breasts

Dr. Biro’s team found that breast development began around age 10 for girls with BMIs below 50%. However, as weight increased, the age of puberty onset decreased. For girls with BMIs of 85% to 95%, breast development started as early as age 8, or second to third grade. Early puberty puts an unwelcome psychological burden on young girls that can lead to low self-esteem, depression, body image issues, early sexual activity and inappropriate peer influence.

The average American child is consuming 31% more calories, 14% more sugars and 56% more fats than his parents did when they were children; and today’s kids are getting less exercise. Most children spend nearly eight hours in sedentary activities and many get less than one hour of exercise a day, according to Let’s Move. At Horizon Daycare Centers in Lorain County, Ohio, your child’s health and healthy development are our top priority. We serve healthy meals and snacks and build physical exercise into our childcare programs at every level.