Will Our Kids Have a Longer Life Expectancy Than We Do?

If trends around childhood obesity stay on their current course, for the first time in US history we may see life expectancy start to fall. There are some scary statistics on the topic:

The head of the CDC, Tom Frieden, has said that combating childhood obesity is one of his top priorities. As awareness of the problem has grown, we’re seeing signs that public and private efforts to improve children’s nutrition and promote physical activity are having an effect. Nationwide, there’s been a decline in obesity among very young children (ages 2-5), and some cities, like New York and Philadelphia, and even some states, like Mississippi and California, have reported improvements in obesity rates among schoolchildren in various grades.

Hoping to be part of the solution, Mercer recently formed an alliance with Kurbo Health, a Silicon Valley start-up that has created a compelling offering combining an intelligent mobile food and activity app, real-time feedback and one-on-one support from coaches. I’m excited by their ability to engage children in their health -- 88% reduce their BMI -- and even more intrigued by their ability to engage parents to lose weight as well -- 55% of parents reduce their own BMI!  It’s a neat example of a positive side effect that goes beyond the initial focus of a solution.

If you’ve been less than satisfied with efforts to promote weight loss among your workers, maybe shifting the focus to improving the health of the whole family is something to consider. Meanwhile, here are a couple of interesting tidbits I turned up in my research:

Ok, maybe that last one needs more research!

Chris Chan
by Chris Chan

Principal, Innovation LABS, Mercer

Chris is a Principal and Innovation Imagineer with Mercer’s Health Innovation LABS, where he helps build creative solutions that complement employers’ health and welfare benefits programs. He focuses on developing strategies and products through the use of human-centered design, machine learning, consumer data insights and creating customer delight. Chris graduated from the University of California with a degree in neurobiology.

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