Navigation Links
Government-led efforts targeting eating habits of children needed to curb worldwide obesity epidemic

Boston, MA The global obesity epidemic has been escalating for decades, yet long-term prevention efforts have barely begun and are inadequate, according to a new paper from international public health experts published in the August 25, 2011 edition of the journal The Lancet. Noting that many countries lack basic population-wide data on children's weight and height, the authors call on governments around the world to launch a coordinated effort to monitor, prevent, and control obesity, and the long-term health, social and economic costs associated with it.

The paper is part of a special Lancet series on obesity.

"By imposing tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and limiting marketing of unhealthy foods to children, governments can lead in making it easier for children to make healthy choices," said lead author Steven Gortmaker, professor of the practice of health sociology at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).

Special taxes and marketing restrictions to discourage smoking have been effective in tobacco control and likely would be effective in reducing SSB consumption, the authors note. Consuming sugar-sweetened beverages increases risk of excess weight gain and obesity which can lead to a host of health problems, including type 2 diabetesand SSBs have no additional nutritional value beyond calories, Gortmaker and his colleagues say.

International organizations like the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and others must participate with the public and private sector to target children and adolescents, in particular, with these and other cost-effective strategies that encourage healthy eating habits and physical activity, the authors say.

In the last 30 years, obesity, defined as a body-mass index (BMI) of more than 30 in adults, has increased globally in both rich and poor countries and in all segments of society. (BMI is weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters.) In a companion commentary, William Dietz, director of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, writes that if U.S. trends based on historical data for 1988� continue, obesity among U.S. adults will increase from its current level of approximately 32% to approximately 50% by 2030. The increased costs of treating obesity-associated diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, will reach $66 billion annually in the U.S. by 2030.

Obesity trends and physical activity need closer monitoring in all countries, including high-income countries. Most countries still need basic data: Only a third of European Union nations have representative data on children's weight and height. Few countries have set targets for obesity rates, changes in dietary intake, or physical activity. In addition, efforts taken by the food industry to reformulate products and undertake other measures to encourage healthier eating should be independently assessed for effectiveness, the authors say.

Gortmaker and his colleagues call for action at multiple levels of society. They provide a list of interventions aimed at children, adolescents, and adults that have been estimated to be cost-effective. In addition to taxes on unhealthy food and drink and restrictions on junk food and beverage TV advertising to children, the authors recommend school-based education and nutrition and physical activity programs for children and some weight loss interventions.

The Lancet Obesity Series precedes the first High-Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly focused on non-communicable disease prevention and control, set for September 19-20, 2011, in New York City. The authors said the meeting "is an important opportunity for the international community to provide the leadership, global standards, and cross-agency structures needed to create a global food system that offers a healthy and a secure food supply for all."


Contact: Marge Dwyer
Harvard School of Public Health

Related biology news :

1. Endangered sawfish focus of national collection and recovery efforts
2. Study may aid efforts to prevent uncontrolled cell division in cancer
3. Hatchery fish may hurt efforts to sustain wild salmon runs
4. Forest fire prevention efforts will lessen carbon sequestration, add to greenhouse warming
5. Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation helps fund Field Museum conservation efforts in Peru
6. ASU research efforts to improve human health will get $3 million in federal stimulus grants
7. Fertilizer use not always helpful in revegetation efforts
8. New maize map to aid plant breeding efforts
9. Lehigh University professor receives Astellas Award for arsenic groundwater remediation efforts
10. ASU scientists develop universal DNA reader to advance faster, cheaper sequencing efforts
11. Keystone Symposia awarded $1.37 million, 5-year NIH grant to fund ongoing diversity efforts
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... ANN ARBOR, Mich. , Oct. 29, 2015 ... with Eurofins Genomics for U.S. distribution of its ... DNA-seq kit and Rubicon,s new ThruPLEX Plasma-seq ... DNA to enable the preparation of NGS libraries ... in plasma for diagnostic and prognostic applications in ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... NEW YORK , Oct. 27, 2015 ... the major issues of concern for various industry verticals ... This is due to the growing demand for secure ... practices in various ,sectors, such as hacking of bank ... concerns for electronic equipment such as PC,s, laptops, and ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... LAS VEGAS , Oct. 26, 2015 ... in modern authentication and a founding member of the ... its latest version of the Nok Nok™ S3 Authentication ... standards-based authentication that supports existing and emerging methods of ... ideal for organizations deploying customer-facing applications that require Internet ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Tikcro Technologies Ltd. (OTCQB: TIKRF) today announced ... 29, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. Israel time, at ... 98 Yigal Allon Street, 36 th Floor, Tel Aviv, ... Eric Paneth and Izhak Tamir to the Board of ... as external directors; , approval of an amendment to certain terms ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Twist Bioscience, a ... Emily Leproust, Ph.D., Twist Bioscience chief executive officer, ... Conference on December 1, 2015 at 3:10 p.m. ... York City. --> ... . Twist Bioscience is on Twitter. Sign up ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Switzerland (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... InSphero ... organotypic 3D cell culture models, has promoted Melanie Aregger to serve as Chief Operating ... Ms. Aregger served on the management team and was promoted to Head ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... QC , Nov. 24, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - ProMetic ... "Corporation") announced today that Mr. Pierre Laurin , President ... corporate presentation at the upcoming Piper Jaffray 27 th ... Palace Hotel, on December 1-2, 2015. st ... available for one-on-one meetings throughout the day. The presentation will ...
Breaking Biology Technology: