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As the NRA doubles down on "good guys with guns," the Broward County Sheriff admits an armed deputy did not engage with the Parkland school shooter. Also on our nationwide rundown: workers across the nation will spend part of their weekend defending the American Dream; and a study says the Lone Star State is distorting Texas history lessons.

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Health Expert on Childhood Obesity: Kids with Diseases of '40-Year-Olds'

Health experts say kids should be involved in activities such as soccer to fight the growing epidemic of childhood obesity. (Edward N. Johnson/Flickr)
Health experts say kids should be involved in activities such as soccer to fight the growing epidemic of childhood obesity. (Edward N. Johnson/Flickr)
September 12, 2017

SEATTLE – The growing epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States has health experts worried about children's well-being. The percent of children who are considered overweight has more than tripled since the 1970s, and being overweight can lead to devastating health effects.

Kaiser Permanente physician assistant Bridget Albright says children are suffering afflictions that normally affect people when they are much older.

"We're seeing kids with diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels - things that we didn't usually see in people until they were in their 40s, and we're seeing that in kids as young as 10," she laments.

About 15 percent of children and adolescents are overweight, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In the U.S., about 200,000 people younger than 20 have diabetes, types one and two.

Much of the cause of obesity is obvious: Kids aren't active enough. Only about 20 percent of children get at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise five days per week. Albright says physical activity is vital to staying healthy and that there are a lot of activities to choose from.

"Finding an activity that you enjoy is key," she says. "That could be an organized sport: soccer. That could be a solitary sport: biking. That could be as simple as liking to walk an hour a day, and I think I really want to emphasize that there's something that everybody's going to find that clicks for them."

Physical activity has other health benefits besides controlling weight, such as improving the cardiorespiratory system, building strong bones and muscles, and even reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Albright notes it also increases children's mental productivity, meaning it can help kids do better in school.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA