Group Calls for Public Policy Changes to Combat Pediatric Obesity EpidemicTuesday, January 03, 2012
The Endocrine Society recently issued a Position Statement supporting policies that bring together doctors and other healthcare providers, family, schools and the community to combat pediatric obesity through education and encouragement of lifestyle modifications.
Although obesity rates vary among different ethnic groups, an estimated 17 percent of U.S. children aged two to 19 years are overweight or obese. Weight gain may increase the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, stroke, liver disease and reproductive disorders.
Overweight children are more likely to be overweight or obese as adults and the associated co-morbidities are often prolonged or exacerbated in adulthood.
“To effectively combat the pediatric obesity epidemic in the United States, endocrinologists, primary care physicians, schools and parents must work together to educate and encourage lifestyle modifications,” said Janet E. Hall, MD, president of The Endocrine Society. “We also urge Congress to enact legislation that increases the availability of healthy, high-fiber foods like fruits and vegetables, and fat-free and low-fat dairy products in schools and communities.”
Specifically, The Endocrine Society supports the following positions:
- Increase research funding for new prevention and treatment options for childhood obesity;
- Enact legislation for better access to low-sugar, high-fiber food and drinks in schools and communities;
- Ensure proper evaluation and treatment of overweight and obese patients and provide incentives for physicians to allow for a greater role in the care of these patients;
- Offer incentives for the development of communities that provide the opportunity for adequate and safe physical activity; and
- Develop a council under the U.S. Department of Agriculture or in the Department of Health and Human Services made of physicians, nurses, registered dieticians and business leaders to monitor industrial food development, commercialization and nutrition in schools.
In 2008, The Endocrine Society published its Clinical Practice Guideline entitled, “Prevention and Treatment of Pediatric Obesity.” The guideline was developed after an extensive review of the best human research studies related to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of pediatric obesity and was written to help physicians who are evaluating and treating obese children and adolescents.