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ERIC Number: ED521750
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 99
ISSN: ISSN-1075-7031
The Epidemic of Childhood Obesity: Review of Research and Implications for Public Policy. Social Policy Report. Volume 20, Number 2
Krishnamoorthy, Jenelle S.; Hart, Chantelle; Jelalian, Elissa
Society for Research in Child Development
Over the past 30 years, the rate of childhood obesity has more than doubled for preschool children aged 2 to 5 years and adolescents aged 12 to 19 years, and it has more than tripled for children 6 to 11 years of age (Institute of Medicine, 2005). At present, approximately 9 million children over 6 years are considered obese (Institute of Medicine, 2005). Thus, pediatric obesity is clearly an epidemic in need of preventive and intervention efforts (Wang & Dietz, 2002). Given the scope of this epidemic, effective public policy is needed to address the pediatric obesity problem (Dietz, Bland, Gortmaker, Molloy, & Schmid, 2002). The scale of this problem requires a multifaceted approach across several sectors of society, including the academic community, government, and the private sector to promote health in our children. This report reviews current research findings regarding the increased prevalence of pediatric obesity and the efficacy of prevention and intervention efforts and makes policy recommendations based on these research conclusions. The goal of this paper is to bridge the divide between public policy and the scientific literature to assist government officials in making informed decisions based on empirical findings. The first section of this report describes the serious and substantial medical and psychosocial risks associated with pediatric obesity; the report also details the sociocultural variables that are thought to contribute to the significant increase in prevalence in this country. Prevention and intervention efforts that have been developed to improve behaviors--such as diet and physical activity--and programs that are designed to decrease body mass index (BMI) in children who are already overweight are reviewed. Findings from these studies suggest that prevention efforts that focus on only one venue, such as school, may not be adequate to significantly impact the obesity of US children. Sociocultural variables are associated with the eased prevalence of pediatric obesity, which require that government, the private and public sector, communities, and families must work together to curb this epidemic. Of utmost importance is the government's collaboration with the academic community in making sure that any programmatic efforts have a rigorous evaluation.
Society for Research in Child Development. 2950 South State Street Suite 401, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Tel: 734-926-0600; Fax: 734-926-0601; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serial; Information Analyses; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research in Child Development