The issue of childhood obesity has become a crisis, from conception to adulthood, and it shows no sign of retreating. Hospitals like CHEO are seeing more and more children and youth who are obese, and seeing conditions and related health issues that are more and more complex and serious. The demand for treatment is exceeding our ability to provide care and challenging the methods of care traditionally provided.
We need to understand how we can promote healthy weights in our communities and prevent the physical, psychological and social problems that can arise with obesity. We do know that physical activities and healthy eating are very important.
Research tells us that 90% of kids do not get enough physical activity. It also tells us that we are not really eating more, just eating more poorly and doing less. What we do not know is the health implications for a child who is obese when he/she becomes an adult.
But we are lucky here at CHEO. We have a group of internationally known experts who have created HALO- the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research group that works closely with CHEO physicians and nurses. They provide the evidence and research the Advocacy Committee can use to help promote health and prevent illness.
CHEO is not alone in this work. The federal and provincial governments have made obesity a priority as well, and the private sector is increasingly engaged in supporting related initiatives.
To be successful in addressing and preventing obesity, it is crucial that we cooperate and work together. Quality treatment must complement good eating and increased physical activity. CHEO works closely with such important partners as Public Health units and school boards to support needed change.