Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Task Force Releases Report on Childhood Obesity

To rollback childhood obesity in one generation.

Ambitious goal - to get the prevalence of childhood obesity down to 5% by 2030. No society has ever succeeded in undertaking such an enormous task - one that is complicated by deeply ingrained norms around diet and exercise, a well-financed commercial industry (not only fast/junk food, but also when it comes to diet and weight loss), and a general distrust of government-led initiatives.

The White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity released its report (commissioned by President Obama on February 9, 2010) and it combines the best evidence for tackling weight gain among our nation's kids.

It quickly lays out the facts: our children are fatter than ever and it is impacting their health.
Further, it will affect progress as a nation.

It also provides evidence-based solutions that work in 4 primary areas:
  1. Healthy choices
  2. Healthier schools
  3. Physical activity
  4. Access to affordable healthy food
The report spends much time acknowledging what we social epidemiologists call the 'social determinants of health', which are the relationships, environmental factors, and social structures that  influence both our health behaviors and ultimately our health outcomes. The report explicitly acknowledges the role that TV plays in replacing physical activity in kids' lives and the need to bring affordable, fresh produce into underserved communities.

This initiative is ripe for collaboration -- between different disciplines (transportation, agriculture, health, education, etc) and public and private organizations.

Parents, too, play a key role in keeping their home environment healthy and encouraging kids to get outside and play, finding opportunities to be physically active, and making sure kids eat healthy, well-balanced meals with lots of fruit and vegetables.

I'm excited to play my part in Let's Move! I hope you are, too.

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