Childhood obesity has become an important public health issue. Today, obesity is the most common nutritional disorder among American adults and children. Over the past 30 years, the number of children with a body mass index (BMI) greater than the 85th percentile for age and sex has tripled; and more than 30% of children in America are considered overweight (BMI greater than the 95th percentile). This trend is expected to continue. More than two-thirds of children aged 10 years and older who are overweight will become overweight adults, and being overweight as a young adult decreases life expectancy by 5 to 20 years. Pediatric obesity-related hospital costs have increased threefold during the past 20 years, reaching $127 million per year, and they are still rising. These statistics are very troubling to the medical community, as this drastic increase in the prevalence of childhood obesity is paving the way for these children to suffer from many medical complications as they grow older.
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