Why safe routes
Over the last few decades, childhood obesity in America has become an epidemic. Children simply aren’t getting enough activity. Very often, overweight children carry these unhealthy habits into adulthood. And the consequences are serious . . . this generation of children may well have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
Safe Routes Nebraska, a program of the Nebraska Department of Roads, believes that addressing the source of the problem can help children live healthier lives now and as they become adults. Walking and biking safely to school each day gives kids much-needed activity to help them maintain a healthy weight and avoid the medical problems that obesity brings.
Developing these healthy habits now also helps kids remain active and healthy as adults. And that means a healthier community, lower health care costs, and a brighter future for all of us.
Facts about childhood obesity
- Type 2 diabetes is becoming more common in children . . . it used to only occur in adults.
- Obese children frequently develop orthopedic problems, liver disease, and asthma.
- Many obese children have cholesterol and blood pressure levels high enough to put them at risk for heart disease.
- Obese children are at risk for sleep apnea, which can affect their learning and memory.
- Overweight teens have a 70 percent chance of becoming overweight adults.
- The direct medical costs associated with physical inactivity was $29 billion in 1987 and nearly $76.6 billion in 2000. Engaging in regular physical activity is associated with taking less medication and having fewer hospitalizations and physician visits. (source: National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion)