Since 1970, the prevalence of overweight has almost quadrupled among children aged 6 to 11 years and has more than doubled among youths aged 12 to 19 years.1 As of 2003-2004, 17.1% of children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 years in the United States are clinically overweight, a figure more than 3 times greater than the Healthy People 2010 goal of 5%.2,3 This has led the US government and the Institute of Medicine to declare obesity an epidemic among American youths,4,5 with important implications for physical6,7 and mental health8,9 and medical care costs.10,11
Cawley J. The Cost-effectiveness of Programs to Prevent or Reduce Obesity: The State of the Literature and a Future Research Agenda. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007;161(6):611–614. doi:10.1001/archpedi.161.6.611
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