Organizations Hope to Attack Obesity - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Organizations Hope to Attack Obesity

Elise Preston
NewsChannel 10

AMARILLO---Nearly three-quarters of Texans will be overweight by the year 2040, local health experts tell NewsChannel 10.

Some local organizations, like the Panhandle Area Health Education Center,  are trying to fight that growth now.

The whole is idea is targeting children.  If kids are healthy and not overweight today, chances are those children won't grow into overweight or obese adults.

Panhandle AHEC hosted a pediatric obesity conference Friday to catch up health professionals on the growing trends of obesity in the area. They tell NewsChannel 10, those trends are an epidemic in our area, state and country.

"We wanted to lay it down a bit about how we got here. We watch a lot of TV now a days, we don't exercise as much, we're on the Internet.  But, we also wanted you to show some new ideas like the community garden at the High Plains Food Bank. " said Karen Russell with Panhandle AHEC.

Experts say that prospect of the estimated overweight growth will carry an extra weight of 39 billion dollars going towards health care. Their belief is that medical treatment for the same condition in adults who are overweight or obese is 30 percent more expensive than for someone classified at a healthy weight. In children, the health care costs are estimated to be three times as much, but they say the medical treatment price tags aren't the only financial burden.  Studies show overweight children are more often absent from school.

"If 41% percent of the kids are overweight and they miss 15 days of school, that could cost a school hundreds of thousands of dollars. That would have to be made up in operational costs, that's our taxes." said Don Nicholson with the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Organizers hope to make the conference an annual event.

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