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Before It’s Too Late…

We have one chance to raise our children. And we are blowing it.

It’s not as if we get a do-over for our childhoods…

There is a lot of discussion nowadays about the lifelong impact on some children of a small number of highly traumatic Adverse Child Events (ACEs).

But what happens, when there is a daily stream of harm to all of our kids’ physical & mental health & wellness?

That damage accumulates for the majority of Americans into lifelong physical chronic disease, and often mental unwellness & illness—few escape.

Kids rarely change their habits in adulthood. National longitudinal data imply that >3/4 of students will continue with their unhealthy habits throughout adulthood.

Stopwatch graphic

1 in 3 teens already with prediabetes, plus child obesity rates in the 20% range (and still growing especially in severity & among teens), are just the tip of the iceberg:

  • High chronic condition rates in children prevail now across all incomes and ethnicities.
  • Many, probably most children lack fitness, including a large majority of lower-income kids. (~75+% of lower-income AZ students lack fitness, based on nationally-validated assessments, and based on national prediabetes and obesity data, there is no reason to believe this is dramatically different in other states.)
  • And those chronic conditions permanently limit Americans’ job opportunities and income

Not to mention the collateral financial damage done to other healthier people, who have to share in chronic costs through ever-higher health insurance, taxes, and a weaker economy.

But there is hope for a better future, if we do a better job of developing healthier habits in childhood: almost all healthy weight adults were healthy weight youth.

According to research by Telama & others: “physically active lifestyle starts to develop very early in childhood” and “the stability of physical activity is moderate or high along the life course from youth to adulthood.”

Also, using a comprehensive lifelong health database for an entire country, Crump et al and Hogstrom et al found a compelling association between teen fitness and good middle-age-adult health.


and We Need it NOW !

We need to do our part NOW, and act before it is too late for today’s generation of children to have a healthy future.

Investing in  Healthy Students Healthy States gets us there.