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Report Requests Action to Help Nine Million Obese Children

As the number of obese children under the age of six reaches nine million, health experts are scrambling for possible solutions. Help is being sought from every area of the child's life including parents, schools, advertisers, the government and the food industry.

A report from the Institute of Medicine is proposing the following recommendations:

  • Requesting schools get involved with student's weight and health
  • Setting nutritional guidelines for all food and beverages in school vending machines
  • Asking schools to develop programs that will engage children in physical activity for at least a half-hour a day

Other voluntary recommendations included:

  • Self-regulation of the food, beverage and entertainment industry such as restaraunts offering healthy food choices on their children's menus
  • Getting Congress involved with restriction of junk food advertising targeting children
  • Parents should play an integral role in helping their child make the proper food choices and limit TV viewing time to less than two hours a day

Congress responded to the childhood obesity crisis by developing a national strategy featuring recommended actions for families, schools, communities and the government.

The report includes specific goals, actions and recommendations needed to prevent obesity.

The epidemic of obesity in children is advancing much more quickly than the CDC and others predicted. It's certainly a positive sign to see so many people getting involved with this crisis.

Prevention of childhood obesity is far easier than applying treatment options, although much of the success of prevention depends on parental involvement. Setting guidelines and educating children on good nutrition through providing them with nutritious meals and snacks will put them on the road to making healthy decisions as adults.

Dr. Ben Lerner and I will be writing a book later this year about this problem and hope to offer some very specific practical guidelines that should have a major impact on this epidemic.

Until the book comes out I have three powerful recommendations to any children you have:

Increase Exercise
Eliminate soda
Decrease or eliminate TV time

Yahoo! News October 1, 2004

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