Childhood Wellness

Childhood Wellness is a new program that we have started in the Pacific Southwest District.  


Mission Statement:

The CWC Team will empower the Optimists of the PSWD to create a culture of health among our members and among the youth of our District. We will endeavor to enhance opportunities for health and well-being by creating positive changes in the environment where we try to

"Bring Out The Best in Kids."

As Optimists we have prioritized a focus on helping the youth in our community. We currently have safety programs such as Child Safety and Internet Safety, Respect for the Law, Oratorical and Essay Programs to teach communication, and now it is time we direct our attention to the health of our youth.

It is a fact that obesity is becoming an increasingly very serious issue in families and youth today. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Childhood Obesity Facts

  1. Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years.
  2. The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 20% in 2008. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.
  3. In 2008, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.
  4. Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors. Obesity is defined as having excess body fat. 
  5. Overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance”—too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed—and are affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors
  6. Surprisingly perhaps, California is among the worst in childhood obesity statistics. Kern County is for example, according to Centers For Disease Control and Prevention Statistics, at 43% childhood obesity. The worst part of this is, of course, that diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer are directly related to lifestyle choices which cause childhood obesity.

Health Effects of Childhood Obesity

Immediate health effects:

  1. Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5 to 17 year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
  2. Obese adolescents are more likely to have prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for development of diabetes.
  3. Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.

Long-term health effects:

  1. Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults, and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.  One study showed that children who became obese as early as age 2 were more likely to be obese as adults.
  2. Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.


  1. Healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity, can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases.
  2. The dietary and physical activity behaviors of children and adolescents are influenced by many sectors of society, including families, communities, schools, child care settings, medical care providers, faith-based institutions, government agencies, the media, and the food and beverage industries and entertainment industries.
  3. Schools play a particularly critical role by establishing a safe and supportive environment with policies and practices that support healthy behaviors. Schools also provide opportunities for students to learn about and practice healthy eating and physical activity behaviors.

Check out the Let’s Move Government Program for more statistics and resources:


#1) Get your local clubs active and elect a Chair for your Zone as well as motivate your clubs to elect representatives as well for local committees. The only way we can really be successful is to take this program to a local level and tailor it to our community and resources.

#2) Get creative because there are so many ways to accomplish this in our communities. Whether it be a physical activity or program to nutrition, cooking and school activities. The idea is to create awareness and activity within our community.

#3) Participate in the creation of this program and share ideas with your peers, clubs and committees. This is our opportunity to create a program that we can be proud of and that will make a difference in the lives of youth as well as families for a lifetime.

#4) Combine the Childhood Wellness Program with other events and programs that you are doing to create a bigger impact and draw attention. We will be developing resources and material for members and the communities to assist you.

Apoint a chair for your local club and contact your District Ambassador for Childhood Wellness.

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