Putting a price on child obesity

DURHAM, N.C.; April 7, 2014

Obesity in a child is a concern for any parent.

Now, there may be one more reason to be concerned, and it has to do with the family bank account.

A new report says that as American kids are getting fatter, their parents wallets are getting thinner.

Duke University researchers looked at kids' health care costs over the past 15 years.

They found that an obese 10-year-old, over his or her lifetime, will roll up 19-thousand dollars more in medical bills than their normal weight counterparts.

That is more than the cost of a year of tuition at a public university.

Even more staggering - multiplying the cost by the number of obese 10-year-olds in America today means 14 billion dollars in additional costs.

Authors of the study say teaching kids healthy habits is one of the best investments a parent can make.

Even as details of the Duke researchers were released, their counterparts at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine said that reports of significant progress against child obesity were premature.

They say child obesity rates are flat, and rates of severe obesity are rising.

They contradict the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which trumpeted a few weeks ago that rates among preschoolers are plunging - 43% between 2003-2004 and 2011-2012.

The North Carolina scientists looked at the same data used by the CDC, and found that figures went up and down, and long-term declines were small.

Copyright © 2024 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.