Children's Health Ranking Scrapes Bottom
The 2006 KIDS COUNT Report showed that Tennessee children rank 46th in the nation in the quality of healthcare for children. One of the greatest problems is obesity.
Dr. Diana Cobb, family practitioner at University of Tennessee Family Physicians in Alcoa, said 70 percent of the children she sees are clinically obese.
"I see high blood pressures in children ages 13 and up a lot and sometimes younger," she said. "There's a high percentage of practitioners that won't even address the obesity problems. Normally, we address what they're coming in for, but if weight plays a role in it, like blood pressure or diabetes, we tell them or should tell them how weight contributes to the symptoms. Sodas are a big problem. Traditionally, the South was a farming area. We eat fried foods and drink sweet tea. Now, the lifestyle has changed, but our eating habits haven't."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stresses 30 minutes of activity a day, five days a week. In addition, exercise has been added to the food group pyramid, as have definitions of serving sizes.
Healthy Kids 2025, an initiative developed by the Nashville Mayors Office of Children and Youth, has joined with the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt and with 10 employees to raise awareness about children's health. The goals are to learn more about the health habits of Tennessee families and educate parents about ways to keep children healthy and safe. Organizers hope that information provided by Healthy Kids 2025 will help Tennessee improve in the rankings over the next 19 years.