The number of overweight children has tripled in the last 20 years, and the consequences of childhood obesity is breathtaking, said former President Bill Clinton at the 2006 International Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) convention in Las Vegas.

"We can blame health insurance companies and drug companies, but this is a self-inflicted wound," he said in the March 21 presentation, which drew thousands of attendees. "All around you, the evidence that it’s getting worse and actually spreading it to other countries."

Obesity can lead to heart disease, certain types of cancer and diabetes. Clinton said what's even more alarming is that for the first time in the history of the United States, there are statistically significant numbers of young people with adult on-set diabetes. Trying to eradicate the childhood obesity epidemic will be like turning around an ocean liner in the middle of an ocean, but he implored the fitness professionals in the audience to do their best to improve the health of the children in their community.

"I implore you to go home and see what you can do to give our children their future back," he said.