Future Olympians?

6a00e5521cccd0883401b7c6cbf950970b-320wiThe 2020 Olympians are 14 to 18 years old and the 2024 Olympians are 10 to 14 years old right now. For me that is cause for alarm. Why? Sport does exist independent of society it reflects society. We are a hypokinetic society characterized by exercise deficit disorder. Look around at these age groups and what do you see? You see kids who lack basic physical competencies who are overweight and sedentary. On the other end you see kids who are overspecialized and ready to flameout. We need to wakeup and address this now not to produce Olympians but to have a healthy society. Take a look at these statistics and ask yourself where future Olympians are coming from?

Physical Activity

  • Only one in three children are physically active every day.1
  • Less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day;2 only one in three adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week.3
  • Children now spend more than seven and a half hours a day in front of a screen (e.g., TV, videogames, computer).7
  • Only about one in five homes have parks within a half-mile, and about the same number have a fitness or recreation center within that distance.5
  • Typical American diets exceed the recommended intake levels or limits in four categories: calories from solid fats and added sugars; refined grains; sodium; and saturated fat.2
  • Americans eat less than the recommended amounts of vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, dairy products, and oils.2
  • About 90% of Americans eat more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet.8
  • Food available for consumption increased in all major food categories from 1970 to 2008. Average daily calories per person in the marketplace increased approximately 600 calories.2
  • Since the 1970s, the number of fast food restaurants has more than doubled.2
  • Data from 2009-2010 indicates that over 78 million U.S. adults and about 12.5 million (16.9%) children and adolescents are obese.11
  • Recent reports project that by 2030, half of all adults (115 million adults) in the United States will be obese.12
  • Overweight adolescents have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults.13 14
  • Obesity Then and Now2
    • Prevalence of obesity for children ages 2 to 5 years – doubled
      • Early 1970s: 5%
      • 2007-08: 10%
    • Prevalence of obesity for children ages 6 to 11 years – quadrupled
      • Early 1970s: 4%
      • 2007-08: 20%
    • Prevalence of obesity for children ages 12 to 19 years – tripled
      • Early 1970s: 6%
      • 2007-08: 18%
    • Percentage of obese adults – doubled
      • Early 1970s: 15%
      • 2007-08: 34%
    • States with an adult obesity prevalence rate of more than 25%:
      • Early 1970s: Zero
      • 2007-08: 32

Human and Financial Costs of Obesity

  • Obesity-related medical conditions cost our nation nearly $150 billion every year and account for 16 to 18 percent of our total healthcare costs (1 in every 6 dollars spent).17
  • Projections estimate that by 2018, obesity will cost the U.S. 21 percent of our total healthcare costs – $344 billion annually.18


1 National Association for Sport and Physical Education. The Fitness Equation: Physical Activity + Balanced Diet = Fit Kids. Reston, VA: National Association for Sport and Physical Education, 1999.

2 U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. Available at:http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/dietaryguidelines.htm.

3 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2010. Available at:http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/healthy_people/hp2010.htm.

4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/brfss/.

5 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2020. Available at:http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/default.aspx.

6 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC State Indicator Report on Physical Activity. Available at:http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/downloads/PA_State_Indicator_Report_2010.pdf.

7 Rideout, Victoria J., Foehr, Ulla G., and Roberts, Donald F. Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds. Rep. Menlo Park: Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2010.

8 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vital Signs: Where’s the Sodium? Available at:http://www.cdc.gov/VitalSigns/pdf/2012-02-vitalsigns.pdf.

9 U.S. Department of Agriculture. Creating Access to Healthy, Affordable Food. Available at:http://apps.ams.usda.gov/fooddeserts/.

10 Nord, Mark, Andrews, Margaret, and Carlson, Steven. Household Food Security in the United States, 2008. Rep. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, 2009;Available at: http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err-economic-research-report/err83.aspx.

11 Ogden, C.L., Carroll, M.D., Kit, B.K., Flegal, K.M. Prevalence of Obesity in the United States, 2009-2010. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief, January 2012; Available at:http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db82.pdf.

12 Wang, Y Claire, McPherson, Klim, Marsh, Tim, Gortmaker, Steven L., Brown, Martin.Health and Economic Burden of the Projected Obesity Trends in the USA and the UK. The Lancet; 2011.

13 Hedley, A.A., Ogden, C.L., Johnson, C.L., Carroll, M.D., Curtin, L.R., and Flegal, K.M.Overweight and Obesity Among US Children, Adolescents, and Adults, 1999-2002. Journal of the American Medical Association; 2004.

14 Flegal, K.M., Carroll, M.D., Kuczmarski, R.J., and Johnson, C.L. Overweight and Obesity in the United States: Prevalence and Trends, 1960-1994. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders; 1998.

15 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. 2003-2008. Available at:http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/documents/obesityfactsheet2010.pdf.

16 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. F As In Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future.2010. Available at: http://www.rwjf.org/files/research/20100629fasinfatmainreport.pdf.

17 Wang, Youfa, Beydoun, May A., Liang, Lan, Caballero, Benjamin, and Kumanyika, Shiriki K. Will Americans Become Overweight or Obese? Estimating the Progression and Cost of the US Obesity Epidemic. Obesity; 2008.

18 National Association for Sport and Physical Education. 2010 Shape of the Nation Report.Available at: http://www.aahperd.org/naspe/publications/upload/Shape-of-the-Nation-2010-Final.pdf.

19 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vital Signs: Adult Obesity. 2010. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/AdultObesity/.

20 Dor, Avi, Christine Ferguson, Casey Langwith, and Ellen Tan. A Heavy Burden: The Individual Costs of Being Overweight and Obese in the United States. Washington, DC: The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services Department of Health Policy; 2010.

21 American Heart Association. Teaching America’s Kids About A Healthy Lifestyle. 2010.Available at: http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@adv/documents/downloadable/ucm_301728.pdf.

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