The Obesity Society Recognizes National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

SILVER SPRING, Md., Sept. 3, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- As rates of childhood obesity continue to rise, youth are more at risk for multiple comorbidities such as type 2 diabetes. To help prevent these conditions, The Obesity Society (TOS) will recognize National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month in September by offering information and education to show the connection between and how to prevent these two conditions, the organization announced today.

According to recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 14 percent of 2-to-5-year-olds have obesity. Approximately 18 percent of youth aged 6- to 11-year-olds and more than 20 percent of 12- to 19-year-olds have obesity. Childhood obesity is more common among certain populations such as Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks compared to non-Hispanic white youth.

Numerous studies have documented the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity and its connection to rising rates of type 2 diabetes. "Studies show that one in three children will develop diabetes at some point in their lives, and it's even worse for Hispanic youth, with one in two predicted to get the disease later in life. This is mainly explained by the increasing prevalence of obesity contributing to the development of type 2 diabetes," said TOS member Michael Goran, PhD. Goran is professor of pediatrics, the Dr. Robert C. Atkins Chair in Childhood Obesity and Diabetes at the University of Southern California, and director of the Program in Diabetes and Obesity at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and The Saban Research Institute.

Goran added that type 2 diabetes used to be known as "adult-onset" diabetes, and its recent appearance in children is a relatively new phenomenon. "But now there are 5,000 new cases of type 2 diabetes diagnosed each year in children. Pre-diabetes, or elevated glucose levels below the threshold of clinical diabetes, is also on the rise in children. Prevalence is difficult to estimate, but some studies suggest that almost half of children with overweight or obesity have pre-diabetes and are on a path towards type 2 diabetes," he said.

"Obesity medicine professionals need to have continued medical education to help prevent and treat these chronic conditions, so that the youth of today can be healthy going into adulthood," said TOS President Steven B. Heymsfield, MD, FTOS, professor and director of the Metabolism and Body Composition Laboratory at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La. 

TOS will mark National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month by highlighting resources such as patient information pages for healthcare providers on its website. Social media posts will be featured throughout the month of September on the Society's Facebook and Twitter pages. The Society is also planning a live Twitter chat with pediatric obesity experts. A virtual thematic journal will feature a select number of articles for the Society's flagship journal, Obesity.

Diabetes is the theme of the 37th Annual Meeting of TOS at ObesityWeek®. Special member and non-member communications will feature pediatric obesity and diabetes sessions scheduled to take place at the international conference set for Nov. 3–7, 2019 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nev.

For more information, visit the National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month section on the healthfinder.gov website. 

The Obesity Society (TOS) is the leading organization of scientists and health professionals devoted to understanding and reversing the epidemic of obesity and its adverse health, economic and societal effects. Combining the perspective of physicians and other clinicians, scientists, policymakers and patients, TOS promotes innovative research, education, and evidence-based clinical care to improve the health and well-being of all people with obesity. For more information, visit www.obesity.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Kristin D. Collins
Director of Communications 
The Obesity Society


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