Childhood Obesity: A Rising Epidemic

By Gary Merel 


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity now affects 17 percent of all children in the U.S. That’s three times the rate of only a generation ago. Scientists are tossing around a lot of hypotheses — from junk food ads to lack of physical activity to increasing proportion size. The truth is that it is a combination of these three things, and a whole lot more. In rare cases, even infants develop obesity, leading more and more scientists to ask questions about environmental toxicity and its impact on the development of adipose tissue. Childhood obesity will only continue to rise unless we do something.

What can we do to protect our kids? First and foremost, we must make sure that our kids eat healthy, unprocessed meals at home. Secondly, we must also lobby our schools to provide not only a strong mental education, but a strong physical education for our kids, rooted in exercise and complete meals. Finally, we need to ensure that our communities offer healthy options in hospitals, day cares, and other activity centers, and that our communities support policies that protect our families right to good, healthy food.

Protecting our kids from childhood obesity is critical to their long-term health. People with obesity are statistically more likely to suffer from Type 2 diabetes, depression, and autoimmune disorders. Stopping obesity before it starts in your family is one way to stem the tide of the epidemic. 


Gary Merel, M.S., L.A.C., has a nutritionally-based acupuncture and holistic health practice in Ann Arbor. For more information about his practice go to or

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Posted on February 13, 2014 and filed under Winter 2014 Issue, Nutrition, Health and Wellness.