Education A National Roundup

Efforts to Combat Childhood Obesity Seen as Inadequate

By Christina A. Samuels — September 19, 2006 1 min read

One-third of American children are either obese or at risk of becoming obese, but programs to prevent childhood obesity are too fragmented and small-scale, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Science.

Instructions on how to purchase copies of “Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity: How Do We Measure Up?” are available from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

In 2005, the institute released a congressionally mandated study that was intended as a national blueprint to guide efforts to respond to the rise in obesity in children and youths.

The new document examines the progress made in prevention initiatives since that time, finding that the problem is starting to be seen as a major public-health epidemic. To combat it, the Sept. 13 report makes recommendations for government, industry, communities, schools, and families. The report was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, of Princeton, N.J., which promotes improved health and health care in the United States.

Children with weight problems show higher incidences of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, orthopedic problems, and psychological difficulties, it notes.

The Institute of Medicine said further research needs to be conducted into which techniques and programs are most effective in stemming childhood obesity.

A version of this article appeared in the September 20, 2006 edition of Education Week