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The Practical Way to Fight Childhood Obesity

Author: Peter R. Orszag
September 19, 2013


Although childhood obesity in the U.S. is a stubbornly difficult problem, some progress is being made. And the new organizations fighting obesity offer larger lessons for national policy.

This month -- National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month -- has brought more evidence that obesity in youngsters leads to health problems throughout life. A study overseen by Sara Watson of Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University, which has tracked more than 1,000 adolescents from Indianapolis since 1986, found that 26 percent of those who were obese when they were young had high blood pressure in adulthood. Yet only 6 percent of normal-weight children wound up with high blood pressure when they grew up.

So there is reason to be relieved that the childhood obesity rate, after rising significantly for several decades, appears to have stabilized over the past few years at about 17 percent. In many states, the rate has actually declined.

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