Today’s youth are believed to be the most physically inactive generation in United States history. The number of overweight children in our country has doubled in the past two decades.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts that one in three children born in 2000 in the United States will likely develop Type 2 Diabetes unless they get more exercise and improve their diets.
When started at an early age, certain behaviors, such as tobacco and alcohol use and poor dietary habits, can lead to chronic diseases later in life.
The Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE) survey of 175 5th and 6th grade students from 12 randomly selected schools, and neighborhood surveys from among 1,205 randomly selected households in New Haven’s Six highest-risk city neighborhoods2, brought light to the fact that New Haven’s current obesity and preventable disease rate among girls also far exceeds the national average creating an health epidemic among city residents. Approximately half the girls (47 percent) of those surveyed were overweight or obese, a problem that may stem from poor dietary habits and inadequate physical activity.
The survey of students in 12 kindergarten through eighth grade schools in New Haven found that a significant proportion of girls in this age group engage in health behaviors that could negatively affect their well-being in the years to come. One in three girls (35 percent) surveyed in the CARE study reported drinking more than three cans of soda or sugar-sweetened beverages per day. Only 16 percent of girls said they eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, and just 13 percent of girls reported getting an average of at least one hour of physical activity each day.