In terms of public health, Main Street, USA is home to valuable assets. On-the-ground successes in Somerville, Mass. show that although catalyzing them to fight childhood obesity is complex, we must make the effort.
Late last week news broke that food and beverage companies sold 6.4 trillion fewer calories in the United States in 2012 in comparison to 2007. A decrease in calories is a positive step, and while the number did exceed industry goals, it begs the question: why do we need to slash calories in the first place?
In urban environments, fighting for childhood health is a lot more complex than pushing the kids off the couch. We need to look to a broad range of actions to address the environmental causes of childhood obesity in urban environments.
As we move into a new era of treating obesity as a disease, doctors face a tough challenge: discussing obesity without increasing patients’ feelings of stigma. Concrete new guidelines will help; a whole family approach and a little empathy can’t hurt either.
The idea that public health must start with and by driven by the public is easy to articulate but hard to execute. This month, the Prevention Institute released a report, “Towards a 21st Century Approach: Advancing a Vision for Prevention and Public Health,” that begins to lay out a framework for action.
With two-thirds of Americans adults and one third of children overweight or obese, our nation has recalibrated its view of “normal” body shape, putting both adults and kids at risk early onset of a wide-range of chronic diseases. But two stories in the past few days indicate that public perception may be turning a corner.