The Weight of the Nation: Children in CrisisChildhood obesity is much more than a cosmetic concern. The health consequences of childhood obesity include greater risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and other serious illnesses.

The combination of these health effects and the dramatic increase in childhood obesity rates over the past three decades causes some experts to fear this may be the first generation of American children who will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

Strategies like cutting out TV and sugar-sweetened drinks may help reduce a child's weight or prevent future weight gain, but not always for the reasons we expect. There is a link between TV watching and overweight and obesity among children.

While the act of watching TV - being sedentary and possibly eating snacks while taking in a favorite show - is part of the problem, experts are now looking at what kids watch as well. There is a growing debate over the effects of food marketing on the childhood obesity epidemic and what should be done about it.

Other episodes: 1. Consequences, 2. Choices, and 4. Challenges.

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