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No quick fix for childhood obesity.

The problem of childhood obesity has no quick fix and the solutions are multifaceted--involving families, schools, as well as governmental institutions, according to a new study released by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine.

The chairman of the expert panel authoring the report, "Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance," explained during a public briefing the important role that parents have in changing the trend of increasing obesity rates for children, while pointing out that many other institutions are involved, such as schools, government and the food industry.

However, the panel also recommended a range of actions--from changes affecting advertising to children, more physical education in schools, and safer streets for children to walk and bike.

Since the causes for the obesity increase are diverse, experts agree that there is no quick fix of the problem, but everyone agrees that families' involvement in obesity prevention is essential. The authors of the report concur and note that "While the home is an influential setting, it is also the least accessible for health promotion efforts."

Changes in lifestyles and time constraints felt by many families, for example, both parents working, increase pressures on healthful meal preparation and eating habits. Many kids are involved in out-of-school activities that restrict even more the time parents spend to prepare meals. Other lifestyle changes to children's activities, such as computer access and more academic pressures, often replace more physical activity.

The difficulty will be to reach families without preaching and stigmatizing children and parents as "failures." Heavy-handed approaches by government agencies could be counterproductive in persuading parents that healthy eating and exercising can be achievable without a drastic change to one's everyday routine.
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Publication:Consumer Comments
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2004
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