Can we beat childhood obesity?
Perhaps the hottest of all hot topics in the worlds of health and nutrition is childhood obesity. When about a third of U.S. kids are overweight or obese, and with the knowledge that obesity can contribute to myriad diseases and conditions including top killers such as heart disease and diabetes, it's clear something has to be done.
But what, exactly?
Google "childhood obesity" and you'll see that everybody and his brother has a plan to beat the epidemic.
Michelle Obama has made childhood obesity her signature issue. Her Let's Move campaign offers concrete strategies for virtually eliminating obesity among children and calls on all sectors of society, from parents and schools to food manufacturers and kids themselves, to do their part.
Jamie Oliver's got his Food Revolution, which aims in part to teach kids how to make better choices in the school cafeteria. The District of Columbia just paved the way for passage of a "soda tax" to discourage kids' and adults' consumption of highly sweetened beverages; the revenue is to support school health programs.
Yesterday I blogged about a study suggesting that configuring neighborhoods in such a way that teens can walk or bike to their destinations can help those teens maintain a healthy weight. And, as I write in this week's "Eat, Drink and Be Healthy" column, some experts believe that making a modernized home economics class mandatory for all children would foster nutrition literacy and help kids learn to eat more healthfully.
All these plans are enough to make my fat head spin.
It's encouraging to see so much thought and energy aimed at this problem. But the cynic in me is, well, cynical. Will any of these plans make a dent? Will the weight-management help get to the kids who need it most, and will they be receptive? Will everyone who needs to be on board get on board?
For the sake of our kids and their kids to come, I hope these efforts have traction. Let's just say the proof will be in the pudding.
Do you think these anti-childhood obesity campaigns will make a difference? Please vote in today's poll.
Jennifer LaRue Huget
June 1, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Childhood obesity , Nutrition and Fitness , Obesity , Prevention
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