The "Make the Play for Healthy Habits" kid contest is an extension of BCBSM's ongoing efforts to combat childhood obesity by encouraging kids to share their ideas using creativity and new media. In addition, this week BCBSM announced that elementary schools can apply for a new round of grant funding from Building Healthy Communities, a partnership with the Michigan Fitness Foundation, Wayne State University's College of Education Center for School Health and the United Dairy Institute of Michigan. Since 2009, BCBSM, the program's creator and primary funder, has invested more than $3 million in the Building Healthy Communities program in an effort to promote healthier lifestyles and prevent childhood obesity and its associated health risks.
Immediate health effects of childhood obesity:
- Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of five- to 17-year-olds, 70 percent of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
- Obese adolescents are more likely to have pre-diabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for development of diabetes.
- Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.
Long-term health effects of childhood obesity:
- Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer and osteoarthritis. One study showed that children who became obese as early as age two were more likely to be obese as adults.
- Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Knowledge and prevention:
- According to the CDC, healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity, can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases.
- The dietary and physical activity behaviors of children and adolescents are influenced by many sectors of society, including families, communities, schools, child care settings, medical care providers, faith-based institutions, government agencies and the media, as well as the food, beverage and entertainment industries.