I don’t think anyone thinks that a child being overweight is a good thing. I also don’t think anyone would disagree that the numbers of overweight children seems to be growing faster than their waistlines. Some parents, however, may not agree that it is their fault. Sure, daycare and school food are, in general, horrendously bad for our children’s health. But patterns of healthy living are formed long before children are influenced by their peers.
As a society, however, I do not think we understand just how serious the problem is. You may have heard me talk about telomeres before. Telomeres are like the wick on the ends of our chromosomes. The shorter they are, the less live that cell has left. Overall, shorter telomeres are a bad thing and are influenced heavily by our lifestyles.
This is why this article shocked me to the core. Overweight children’s telomere lengths were 24% shorter than non-obese kids. I cannot begin to adequately express the fear that these numbers generate. A marker of overall health and longevity that is not limited to a single organ or cell type (meaning that the risk for developing ANY chronic disease will be elevated) was much worse in obese children. I can only hope that society begins to understand the critical nature of obesity in children and begins to act accordingly. If not, we will likely not have our children outlive us.