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This epidemic is occurring in boys and girls in all 50 states, in younger children as well as adolescents, across all socioeconomic strata, and among all ethnic groups—though specific subgroups, including African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians, are disproportionately affected.
At a time when we have learned that excess weight has significant and troublesome health consequences, we nevertheless see our population, in general, and our Summary report on obesity, in particular, gaining weight to a dangerous degree and at an alarming rate.
The increasing prevalence of childhood obesity 1 throughout the United States has led policy makers to rank it as a critical public health threat. Over the past three decades, its rate has more than doubled for preschool children aged 2 to 5 years and adolescents aged 12 to 19 years, and it has more than tripled for children aged 6 to 11 years.
At present, approximately nine million children over 6 years of age are considered obese. These trends mirror a similar profound increase over the same approximate period in U.
Childhood obesity involves immediate and long-term risks to physical health. For children born in the United States inthe lifetime risk of being diagnosed with diabetes at some point in their lives is estimated at 30 percent for boys and 40 percent for girls if obesity rates level off.
Young people are also at risk of developing serious psychosocial burdens related to being obese in a society that stigmatizes this condition.
There are also considerable economic costs. Understanding the causes of childhood obesity, determining what to do about them, and taking appropriate action require attention to what influences eating behaviors and physical activity levels because obesity prevention involves a focus on energy balance Summary report on obesity consumed versus calories expended.
Although seemingly straightforward, these behaviors result from complex interactions across a number of relevant social, environmental, and policy contexts.
Many of these changes—such as both parents working outside the home, longer work hours by both parents, changes in the school food environment, and more meals eaten outside the home, together with changes in the physical design of communities often affect what children eat, where they eat, how much they eat, and the amount of energy they expend in school and leisure time activities.
Other changes, such as the growing diversity of the population, influence cultural views and marketing patterns. Many of the social and cultural characteristics that the U. An understanding of these contexts, particularly regarding their potential to be modified and how they may facilitate or impede development of a comprehensive obesity prevention strategy, is essential for reducing childhood obesity.
The plan consists of explicit goals for preventing obesity in children and youth and a set of recommendations, all geared toward achieving those goals, for different segments of society Box ES The goal of obesity prevention in children and youth is to create—through directed social change—an environmental-behavioral synergy that promotes: For the population of children and youth more Obesity prevention requires an evidence-based public health approach to assure that recommended strategies and actions will have their intended effects.
Such evidence is traditionally drawn from experimental randomized trials and high-quality observational studies. However, there is limited experimental evidence in this area, and for many environmental, policy, and societal variables, carefully designed evaluations of ongoing programs and policies are likely to answer many key questions.
For this reason, the committee chose a process that incorporated all forms of available evidence—across different categories of information and types of study design—to enhance the biological, psychosocial, and environmental plausibility of its inferences and to ensure consistency and congruency of information.
Because the obesity epidemic is a serious public health problem calling for immediate reductions in obesity prevalence and in its health and social consequences, the committee believed strongly that actions should be based on the best available evidence—as opposed to waiting for the best possible evidence.
However, there is an obligation to accumulate appropriate evidence not only to justify a course of action but to assess whether it has made a difference. Therefore, evaluation should be a critical component of any implemented intervention or change.
Childhood obesity prevention involves maintaining energy balance at a healthy weight while protecting overall health, growth and development, and nutritional status.
The balance is between the energy an individual consumes as food and beverages and the energy expended to support normal growth and development, metabolism, thermogenesis, and physical activity. For example, children are strongly influenced by the food- and physical activity-related decisions made by their families, schools, and communities.
Furthermore, it is important to consider the kinds of foods and beverages that children are consuming over time, given that specific types and quantities of nutrients are required to support optimal growth and development.
Thus, changes at many levels and in numerous environments will require the involvement of multiple stakeholders from diverse segments of society.
In the home environment, for example, incremental changes such as improving the nutritional quality of family dinners or increasing the time and frequency that children spend outside playing can make a difference. Changes that lead to healthy communities, such as organizational and policy changes in local schools, school districts, neighborhoods, and cities, are equally important.
At the state and national levels, large-scale modifications are needed in the ways in which society promotes healthful eating habits and physically active lifestyles.
Accomplishing these changes will be difficult, but there is precedent for success in other public health endeavors of comparable or greater complexity and scope.
This must be a national effort, with special attention to communities that experience health disparities and that have social and physical environments unsupportive of healthful nutrition and physical activity.
Prevention of obesity in children and youth should be a national public health priority. Across the country, obesity prevention efforts have already begun, and although the ultimate solutions are still far off, there is great potential at present for pursuing innovative approaches and creating linkages that permit the cross-fertilization of ideas.State actionS to Reduce and PRevent childhood obeSity in SchoolS and communitieS SummaRy and analySiS of tRendS in legiSlation By Amy Winterfeld National Conference of State Legislatures William T.
Pound, Executive Director East First Place Denver, Colorado () The New York Academy of Medicine Fifth Avenue at rd Street New York, NY Current level and trends Top.
In /, the age-standardised proportion of obesity for adults was percent, as measured by the New Zealand Health Survey. a condition characterized by the excessive accumulation and storage of fat in the body Obesity affects not just appearance, but disease processes as well.
A single administration of a therapeutic vector in mouse models cures type 2 diabetes and obesity in the absence of long-term side effects, researchers report.
In healthy mice, the therapy. Mexico. SUMMARY. A comparison of the national nutrition surveys was carried out in both urban and rural areas and found that the nutritional status of children of less than five years showed a marked decrease in the prevalence of malnutrition on a national scale from to (SSA, ; Pérez Hidalgo, ; INNSZ, ;; INSP, ).