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Doing the math to fight childhood obesity
Date:8/15/2012

stimate their impact on children's "energy gap"the difference between the number of calories consumed each day and the number of calories required to support normal growth and physical activity. Excess weight gain occurs when energy intake exceeds energy expended over a period of time, explains Dr. Wang.

"One of our goals with the Calorie Calculator is to encourage more researchers to use calories as a measure for the effectiveness of obesity-related programs and policies," she says. "This will allow us to add new menu items to the Calculator, increasing the options for fighting the epidemic of childhood obesity."

"The Caloric Calculator quickly shows you that not all policy changes are equalsome strategies can make a major dent in childhood obesity risk and others not so much," says Steven Gortmaker, PhD, Professor of the Practice of Health Sociology, Harvard School of Public Health. "This tool should be required when policymakers are considering their choices."

Currently, one in three children and adolescents are obese. The government's Healthy People 2020 initiative seeks to reduce the overall childhood obesity level to 14.6% by 2020. In order to meet this goal, an average American child would need to reduce 64 calories per day, either by reducing calories intake or by increasing physical activity, according to research by Dr. Wang.

The Caloric Calculator is entered into the Childhood Obesity Challenge, an online competition administered by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Funding for developing the tool was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


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Contact: Timothy S. Paul
tp2111@columbia.edu
212-305-2676
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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