What to Do About Childhood Obesity?

April 13th, 2010, by


The facts say it all. About 17% of American children ages 2-19 are obese. Obese children are more likely than other children to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes. They are also more likely to be obese as adults.

Add in the fact that obesity rates have tripled in the past 30 years and we have ourselves a serious problem.

So what to do about it?

First Lady Michelle Obama says Let’s Move. Her new inter-agency task force to eradicate childhood obesity had a summit at the White House last week.

Some of the solutions bandied about at the meeting focused on advertising, marketing, food labels, the food supply in schools, nutrition assistance programs, the high cost of healthy food, breast feeding, physical activity and educating both adults and children about healthy lifestyle choices. The task force will report their recommendations to President Obama in May.

But is that enough? What do you think? What’s the solution?

And if 34% of adults are obese, how do we ensure that our children make healthy choices? 

  • Angella

    Another factor to consider is the size of our portions. US portions are considerably larger than most developed nations, if not all. We have to rethink the way we shop, cook, eat & move and be deliberate in making changes.

  • George Butcher

    30 years ago we started using high frutose syurp in our soft drinks and the fast food industry took off also. Every one who get something to eat there has a soft drink. Science Daily web site had an articule. “A Princeton University research team, including (from left) undergraduate Elyse Powell, psychology professor Bart Hoebel, visiting research associate Nicole Avena and graduate student Miriam Bocarsly, has demonstrated that rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup — a sweetener found in many popular sodas — gain significantly more weight than those with access to water sweetened with table sugar, even when they consume the same number of calories. The work may have important implications for understanding obesity trends in the United States. (Credit: Princeton University, Office of Communications, Denise Applewhite.)” Looks to me like this could be the problem.

  • DAkingDavid

    well…. i dont know the answer to ensuring that our children make healthy food choices but I do know that KFC having a no-bun chicken sandwich packed with 1500mg of sodium is not the way. its too hard to get to those “healthy choices”, yet so easy to go to a drive thru for 4 dollar menu cheeseburgers.
    point being.. i think accessibility of healthy foods is an issue that needs to be addressed when giving recommendations to the powers that be.

  • Fentris Lane

    The problems starts at and early age. As a Fitness trainer – I observe people that are taught from their parents at an early age how to over-indulge in bad food choices. How many times do you here people say “oh, isn’t that chubby little baby so cute”. Also, people prefer to eat out more than even attempt to cook-their own food. Most foods in restaurants are processed and loaded with high-corn fructose syrup, salt and trans-fats.

  • don

    I have to believe those solutions are possibly enough. From reading and having a good idea of what each sentiment brings to the table in the form of awareness and being able to sustain weight gain I’d say that if not proper solutions, they are definitely a start in the right direction.
    The microwave and fast food era and computer technology era have made it almost impossible for young kids to do something simple as go outside and play and maintain a decent level of physical activity.

  • Attica Scott

    We need to change our school budget priorities in a way that reduces the amount that we spend on packaged and processed foods and increases the amount that we spend on fresh foods.
    We need to say “no” to powdered eggs, milk and potatoes in school and “no” to corn dogs, pizza and cinammon toast everyday for breakfast which is my daughter’s experience. My son is a vegetarian so his healthy food choices at school are almost non-existent.
    We need to remove vending machines from schools and every child at every level (K-12) should have physical education in school everyday.
    The reality is that limited healthy food choices, lack of physical education and misplaced budget priorities are hurting our children and impacting their attitude, behavior and ability to learn.

  • Courtney King

    I believe childhood obesity is a serious issue and in order to control it we need hands on action. For instance, school PE teachers can change their class activities by enforcing more games and fun with exercise and physical activity. Also, along with the 50 million pound challenge there can be something similar but only for schools and have a nationwide competition with schools aiming to have the most weight loss in their student body. Lastly, collectively I believe we can help our children one mile at a time!

  • Howard

    I think, what should be done, if we start teaching people to change their life style, diet and exercise! It means a lot what you put in your body. Everything that’s Good to you, is not Good for you!

  • kim trueheart

    In conjunction with First Lady Obama’s initiative the Department of Agriculture, through the nation’s Land Grant Institutions has the 4-H program that would be an ideal vehicle for addressing this epidemic. The 4-H program claims that it serves over 6 million young people with achieving healthy life choices. With a few changes, specifically divesting the program from the university bureaucracy rooted in staff tenure vs client outcomes, the reach and breadth of the 4-H program can be an already funded national asset in the fight against childhood obesity. Many of the Land Grant Institutions are also Historically Black Colleges and if properly refocused both the HBCU and their neighboring Black communities can reap great benefits in this fight against obesity.

  • sui

    How about this, “mama can I have some more? No! get up from the table, that’s enough. and parents do the same.

  • s d

    You replace physical education with PS3s, Nintendo, XBOX etc… feed the children unbalanced/horrrible tasting lunches, let fast food companies feed them garbage that the kids ultimately waste and get absolutely no nutrition value whatsoever, and you hand out food stamps like they are candy and you wonder why the children as well as adults are overweight with no trend change in sight. Give me a break, a blind man could see this coming.

Last modified: April 26, 2011 at 11:17 am