Philadelphia has the highest percentage of obese adolescents in the nation: 40.7 percent of the city's children were either obese or overweight in 2010, reports the Health Department. Department of Human Services Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose answered some questions.
What are some contributing factors to childhood obesity?
I think a lack of activity. When we were kids, we used to play outside a lot. Now there are TVs, computers — all those little devices kids are using. I think there's a less active population of children now. I also think there are less healthy alternatives that we’re emphasizing, like sugary drinks, a lack of portion control and limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
What kind of childhood health problems are linked to obesity?
It can aggravate things like diabetes — it can actually cause Type II diabetes in children — high blood pressure, hypertension, sleep apnea and can worsen conditions like asthma and other breathing issues.
Can children be placed in foster care for being obese?
We really do not want to take children into the child welfare system just for being obese. ... If there’s a life-threatening medical condition because of obesity, we have the responsibility to remove a child from the home to get their medical condition stabilized.