Obesity has emerged as a public health crisis, nationally and in Connecticut. Over the past quarter century (from 1976-1980 to 2003-2004), the percentage of American children who fit the definition of "obese" has shot up dramatically, tripling for those aged 12 to 19 (from 5 percent to 17.4 percent) and nearly tripling for those aged 6 to 11 (from 6.5 percent to 18.8 percent.) In 2005, one in four (26 percent) Connecticut high school students were obese (11 percent) or overweight (15 percent).
Weight problems in childhood often continue into adulthood. Nationally, more than 50 percent of all obese 6-year-olds are projected to become obese adults. The adult obesity rate in Connecticut nearly doubled over the past 15 years, rising from 12 percent in 1990 to 20 percent in 2005.
The potential consequences of obesity are significant. Obese children face increased risk for Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke, asthma, and heart disease. Diabetes among U.S. adults jumped by 41 percent between 1997 and 2003, with obesity playing a major role. In Connecticut, more than 3,000 people die each year from obesity and its complications. In just one year, obesity-related health problems added $665 million in Medicaid and Medicare costs in Connecticut.
Below are some resources, compiled by the Connecticut Commission on Children and its partners, for fighting this epidemic.
Connecticut Coalition Against Childhood Obesity
The Commission on Children is one more than 30 organizations that belong to the Coalition, which was formed to combat the epidemic of childhood obesity and address its connection to Connecticut’s educational achievement gap. The Coalition believes the demonstrated connection between better health and better academic achievement make action against childhood obesity an education as well as health imperative. Website
Childhood obesity forum highlights data—and possible solutions
On November 19, 2012, the Connecticut Coalition Against Childhood Obesity held a forum at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford to engage leaders in government, education, health care, and advocacy in a dialogue to identify solutions to the childhood obesity epidemic. The keynote address was delivered by Kelly Brownell, PhD, director of Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. Video, documents, photos, and more resources
SustiNet panel learns what's been done about childhood obesity—and what needs to be done
Thomas R. Brooks, director of policy and research analysis
for the Commission on Children, gave an overview of the
state's efforts to combat childhood obesity at the December
11, 2009 meeting of the SustiNet Health Partnership
Childhood and Adult Obesity Task Force.
His remarks (PDF) | His PowerPoint slides (PDF) | SustiNet website
Just the facts
This January 2009 factsheet from the Commission outlines the scope of childhood obesity in Connecticut. Download the PDF
More than 300 turn out for 'Preventing Childhood Obesity' forum
On November 7, 2008 the Commission on Children co-led a forum to help municipal officials, community leaders, health-care professionals, educators, business people, and families respond effectively to the epidemic of childhood obesity. Read about the forum here
Connecticut Department of Public Health
DPH addresses childhood obesity through its Nutrition, Physical Activity & Obesity Prevention Program. Visit this page
Food for Thought: Acting Locally to Address Childhood Obesity
A forum for municipal officials held by the Commission on Children and the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. Visit this page.
This page was last updated:
Tuesday, February 26, 2013