Couch-potato kids are biggest child health problem in the US, adults say

Adults across the U.S. rate not getting enough exercise as the top health concern for children in 2012, according to a new University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health.

In the poll's annual top 10 list, a nationwide sample of adults were asked to identify the top 10 biggest for kids in their communities. For the first time, not enough exercise was rated by most adults at the top of the list (39 percent). That was followed closely by (38 percent) and smoking and tobacco use (34 percent).

"Childhood obesity remains a top concern, and adults know it is certainly linked to lack of exercise," says Matthew M. Davis M.D., M.A.P.P., director of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital on Children's Health.

"The strong that lack of exercise is a threat to children's health may reflect effective recent public health messages from programs such as First Lady 's 'Let's Move' campaign.

"But lack of exercise offers many more benefits other than or preventing obesity – such as better attention and learning in school and improved sense of well-being," says Davis, associate professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at the U-M Medical School and associate professor of public policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

The rest of the poll results were:

  • 4. Drug abuse (33 percent)
  • 5. Bullying (29 percent)
  • 6. Stress (27 percent)
  • 7. Alcohol abuse (23 percent)
  • 8. Teen pregnancy (23 percent)
  • 9. Internet safety (22 percent)
  • 10. Child abuse and neglect (20 percent)
"The strong connection of many of the top 10 child health concerns to health behaviors among children and adolescents underscores the importance of public programs and communication initiatives — for example, those designed to prevent drug abuse, tobacco use, alcohol abuse and teen pregnancy," Davis says.

The poll's results varied based on race/ethnicity. Hispanic adults were more likely to rate childhood obesity first (44 percent), followed by not enough exercise (38 percent), and also rated drug abuse higher than smoking and tobacco use.

Black adults had higher levels of concern about smoking and , ranking that most often (43 percent). They also had high levels of concern about racial inequality, ranking it seventh on the list, and gun-related injuries, ranking that ninth.

Black and Hispanic adults both identified sexually transmitted infections as a greater concern for kids in their communities than did white .

"Child health varies across communities, and these results emphasize a need for local programs that respect and address community-specific health priorities for youth," Davis says.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tobacco: Smoking gun for kids' asthma attacks

Jan 28, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Exposure to smokers is still a major cause of asthma attacks in kids, according to results of a poll released today by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s ...

Teen pregnancy prevention programs receives public support

Jan 20, 2011

Every hour in the United States, about 40 children are born to teenage mothers. Americans consistently rate teen pregnancy as one of the top 10 biggest health problems for young people (NPCH Report, August, 2010) and the U.S. still has the highest teen birth rate among all industrialized countrie ...

Recommended for you

Divorce fuels sugary beverage consumption, study finds

19 hours ago

Children of recently separated or divorced families are likelier to drink sugar-sweetened beverages than children in families where the parents are married, putting them at higher risk for obesity later in life, according ...

People watching tearjerkers eat 28-55% more

Mar 02, 2015

Sad movies are bad news for diets. A newly reported study from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab showed movie-goers watching tearjerkers ate between 28% and 55% more popcorn both in the lab and in a mall theater ...

Abdominal obesity ups risk of hip fracture

Feb 27, 2015

(HealthDay)—Abdominal obesity is associated with increased risk of hip fracture, according to a study published in the March issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Does traffic noise increase the risk of obesity?

Feb 27, 2015

There is an association between road traffic noise and the risk of obesity among people who are particularly sensitive to noise, according to a study from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.