April 04, 2007

Big Problem


From CBS News: $500M Pledged To Fight Childhood Obesity.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said Wednesday it would spend $500 million over the next five years to combat an "epidemic" of childhood obesity.

Childhood obesity is threatening the health of one-third of the nation's young people. Nearly 25 million children age 17 and younger are considered obese or overweight, costing $14 billion a year in medical expenses, the foundation said.

"These children live sicker and are likely to die younger if our nation continues to have this problem with childhood obesity," Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, the president and CEO of the foundation, told CBS News.

To halt a trend building over the past four decades, the foundation is offering to fund programs that focus on improving access to affordable healthy foods or on how to increase physical activity in schools and communities.

"We know that we are going to need to use this to help families have safer places for kids to play and get exercise, and get back to being active," Lavizzo-Mourey said. "What we hope to do with this money is pull people from all across the country, galvanize them, to work together to reverse this epidemic."

A glut of cheap junk food and convenience — fewer of today's kids walk to school or need to get up to change the television channel — have obscured the facts of the "energy balance," Lavizzo-Mourey said.

Simply put, people are eating more energy than they burn, she said.

UDPATE -- April 6: Is the "childhood obesity epidemic" as overblown as man-made global warming? Reader Jeremy Morton pointed us to Sandy Szwarc's blog -- Junk Food Science -- where she argues that that is the case. Two relevant posts:
Where’s the crisis?
Cradle-to-grave customers

Posted by Forkum at April 4, 2007 06:58 PM