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Medical News & Perspectives
December 19, 2007

Researchers Address Childhood Obesity Through Community-Based Programs

JAMA. 2007;298(23):2728-2730. doi:10.1001/jama.298.23.2728

Around the globe, childhood obesity rates have soared in the last 30 years, creating a public health crisis. Overweight children are likely to have serious medical problems in adulthood—a grim prognosis. But reversing the trend of weight gain is not as simple as trading potato chips for carrots or shutting off the television and heading outdoors.

Individual behavioral change is only one piece of the puzzle, said Christina Economos, PhD, assistant professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University's Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston. “If you don't have the healthy options and the policies being implemented around you, it's hard to execute a healthy behavior,” she said. This can be particularly challenging in low-income neighborhoods, where healthy food choices are scarce and playing outside may not be safe.