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Dec 2012

Childhood Obesity: Shifting the Focus to Early Prevention

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition (Dr Baidal) and Division of General Pediatrics, Department of Medicine (Dr Taveras), Boston Children's Hospital, and Obesity Prevention Program, Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute (Drs Baidal and Taveras), Boston, Massachusetts.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012;166(12):1179-1181. doi:10.1001/2013.jamapediatrics.358

In the past 3 decades, rates of overweight and obesity among adults and children have substantially increased worldwide with all but the poorest countries now struggling with an obesity epidemic.1 While childhood obesity rates may have plateaued in some US population subgroups, such as white individuals and those of higher socioeconomic status, overall rates remain stubbornly high and racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities appear to be widening.2 The underlying causes of obesity and related noncommunicable diseases are modifiable risk factors; these risk factors represent major causes of socially determined health inequalities worldwide and make prevention of obesity a global health priority.3