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Letter: Obesity Puts Your Child at Risk

GREENWICH, Conn. — The following letter was written by Gina Gould, science curator at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich.

Dear Editor,

Please afford me the opportunity to bring to the forefront a very serious epidemic facing our nation — childhood obesity. A recent article in a national newspaper dispels the myth that childhood obesity is an isolated epidemic among a particular class or cultural group of people. Whether you are urban or suburban, living in a food desert or on a farm, from the west coast or east coast, American children are highly susceptible to obesity.

On the rise for the past several decades, childhood obesity has tripled in the past 30 years. The ramifications of this epidemic are far-reaching. Childhood obesity has been linked with an increase in morbidity — high cholesterol, high blood pressure, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem, which over time (because obese children are more likely to become obese adults) lead to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and early death. It seems unconscionable to predetermine a child to such a fate. These unfortunate children are not the only ones who will suffer the consequences of obesity, however. Left untreated, this national epidemic will lead to a significant decline in the quality of everyone's lives because everyone will shoulder the burden of a population plagued with chronic ill health and escalating healthcare costs.

Countless steps have been taken to mitigate this alarming situation, both nationally and right here in Greenwich. The most important step is to get informed.

On Tuesday, May 8, at noon, Dr. Diane Mickley, Founder and Director of Greenwich's Wilkin's Center for Eating Disorders, will give a public service talk on our nation's childhood obesity epidemic. The presentation is being hosted by the Bruce Museum (One Museum Drive, Greenwich). I hope your readers will join me and get informed.

Sincerely,Gina C. Gould, Ph.D.Science Curator, Bruce Museum

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