I remember as a child that I ran my parents ragged trying to keep up with me. I had feet and legs in good operating order, a bike whose operating order was questionable, and a passion to be busy from daylight to bedtime. I wore my parents out just trying to keep tabs on me. No longer though. In most cases parents need look no further than the TV or refrigerator. Parents must be relieved.
When I was growing up there weren’t any video games. Television (by today’s standards) was an insignificant part of our lives. Hiking, biking, fishing, hunting and golf consumed most of my free time. My “unfree” time was spent mowing lawns and doing chores to make money.
I say all of this, not because I was special or an exception, but more because that type of activity was the rule in the 50’s and 60’s and possibly the 70’s, although I believe we had started the downward slide by then. Today, approximately 3% of children in the UK are getting adequate exercise. I suspect that the number may be higher in the US, but not stunningly higher. My premise is based solely on the fact that children are offered more chances to participate in sports. No scientific study there. Just a conjecture on my part.
From a life insurance standpoint I know that one of the biggest concerns is that the low percentage who are getting exercise as children will dwindle when they reach adulthood.
Probably the single biggest bomb thrown in the strawberry patch of our once fit and healthy youth was television. Inch by inch it has managed to sneak it’s way into the list of major causes of obesity in both children and adults. When you add junk food to the equation, our society has leaped onto an obesity train headed for a collapsed bridge. While the majority of intake is with parents or at home, at least some states have begun to ban fast foods from school as a way to curb childhood obesity.
Getting a handle on childhood obesity is, simply put, saving a child’s life. Obesity takes a huge toll on the body. It can lead to type 2 diabetes, once called adult onset diabetes. It is now a fast growing disease in children. Obesity, if not curbed, can lead to a potpourri of health issues down the road such as cancer, heart disease and kidney disease to name a few.
Bottom line. Life insurance rates are based on mortality tables. Mortality tables favor those who are active and fit. Obesity is insidious. The longer it is left unchecked, the more damage it does to your body. Any question as to why everyone, including life insurance companies, should be concerned with the shape our children are in?