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21 August 2012
Couch-potatoism cited as biggest child health concern

U.S. adults say not getting enough exercise is their top children's health concern in 2012, narrowly beating out obesity and smoking. The new C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll is conducted by the University of Michigan.

In the poll's annual top 10 list, a nationwide sample of adults were asked to identify the top 10 biggest health concerns 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 childhood obesity and smoking and tobacco use . The full poll results were:

  1. Lack of exercise (39 percent)
  2. Childhood obesity (38 percent)
  3. Smoking (34 percent)
  4. Illicit drugs (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 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 tobacco use, 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 adults.

"Childhood obesity remains a top concern, and adults know it is certainly linked to lack of exercise," says Matthew M. Davis, of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. "The strong perception that lack of exercise is a threat to children's health may reflect effective recent public health messages from programs such as First Lady Michelle Obama's 'Let's Move' campaign."

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Source: University of Michigan Health System


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