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Childhood obesity the top major health concern

Eighth annual survey of top health concerns

Childhood obesity rates have nearly tripled in the previous 30 years Being obese as a child also increases the likelihood of being obese as an adult.
Childhood obesity rates have nearly tripled in the previous 30 years Being obese as a child also increases the likelihood of being obese as an adult.
GettyImages/Digital Vision.
According to a new University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on children's health, childhood obesity remains the top health concern for children in 2014.

Across the US childhood obesity, bullying and drug abuse are among the top health concerns for kids as rated by adults.

In the eighth annual survey of top health concerns conducted by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, adult’s rate health concerns for kids in their local communities as well as for kids across the US.

A nationwide sample of adults were asked to identify the biggest health concerns for children in their community and nationwide. The survey was conducted in June 2014 to a randomly selected, stratified group of 2, 207 adults age 18 and older. Among those selected to participate, 58% had completed the survey.

Childhood obesity remained a leading health concern for children not only in their communities but nation-wide as well.

The top ten rankings for 2014 are as follows:


Childhood obesity-29%

Smoking and tobacco use-26%

Drug Abuse-26%

Bullying-23 %


Alcohol abuse-19%

Internet safety-18%

Child abuse and neglect-18%

Teen pregnancy-16%

Not enough physical activity options-15%


Childhood obesity-55%


Drug Abuse-49%

Smoking and tobacco use-47%

School violence-44%

Child abuse and neglect-42%

Alcohol abuse-41%

Internet safety-40%

Gun-related injuries-39%

Teen pregnancy-37%

Dr. Matthew M. Davis, MD, MAPP, professor of pediatrics and internal medicine atthe University of Michigan Health System and professor of public policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan and the Chief Medical Executive for the State of Michigan, in the Department of Community Health , commented "Obesity remains a top child health problem overall, which has been a persistent concern in our annual top 10 polls along with others like bullying, smoking and drug abuse.”

"But this year's top 10 lists differ in key ways. School violence and gun-related injuries are on the list of big child health problems from a national perspective, but not a local community perspective."

Dr. Davis noted that recent shootings and other instances of violence in schools may have prompted concern among adults from a national perspective,

These top 10 lists have a strong connection; obesity, smoking and tobacco use, bullying and drug abuse are in the top 4 concerns among adults for children’s health in their local communities and for children across the country.

"Recent data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that rates of obesity in early childhood are decreasing in some states," remarked Dr. Davis.

He continues "But we know obesity among children remains substantially higher than it was in generations past. So this poll reminds us that much of the public recognizes the need to keep working hard on this problem."

The results of this latest poll strengthen the constant concern of adults about the problems of childhood obesity, smoking and tobacco use, drug use, and bullying for children.

Dr. Davis discloses he has hopes that the results of this poll help health professionals, community leaders, and elected representatives prioritize the threats to children's health in their own communities.

In closing Dr. Davis remarks "We need to work hard together on these issues of greatest concern to the public, and take note of the particular national concern about school violence and gun-related injuries so we can address how to improve and safeguard our children's health.”

The full report can be viewed at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health


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