Most physicians are concerned that the obesity epidemic has major health consequences, but a backlash has developed over its impact on death rates. This should not get in the way of action to address the worsening problem of obesity among young people.

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of obesity among young people has risen to 16 per cent. Increasing consumption of high-calorie food and lack of exercise have produced an unhealthy lifestyle. While modern medicine may help keep obese people alive, a lifetime of health problems can be minimised if young people keep their weight down as they mature.

One of the most insidious consequences of obesity in children is an increased incidence of Type 2 diabetes, which used to occur mainly in people over 40. The best course of action is prevention, as early as possible, and the best place to do that — after the home — is the public schools. Obesity is a statewide problem that demands action by the Legislature to get soft drinks and junk food out of schools.

A report detailed the consequences for members of the Pima tribe in Arizona who developed Type 2 diabetes when they were young. The lawmakers should not let a similar change in lifestyle doom many youngsters to a lifetime of chronic, debilitating disease. — The Boston Globe