One-third of adults are now obese, and children's obesity rates have climbed from 5 to 17 percent in the past 30 years. The causes of the nation's obesity epidemic are multi-factorial, having much more to do with the absence of sidewalks and the limited availability of healthy and affordable foods than a lack of personal responsibility. The broad societal changes that are needed to prevent obesity will inevitably affect activity and eating environments and settings for all ages. Many aspects of the obesity problem have been identified and discussed; however, there has not been complete agreement on what needs to be done to accelerate progress.
Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention reviews previous studies and their recommendations and presents five key recommendations to accelerate meaningful change on a societal level during the next decade. The report suggests recommendations and strategies that, independently, can accelerate progress, but urges a systems approach of many strategies working in concert to maximize progress in accelerating obesity prevention.
The recommendations in Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention include major reforms in access to and opportunities for physical activity; widespread reductions in the availability of unhealthy foods and beverages and increases in access to healthier options at affordable, competitive prices; an overhaul of the messages that surround Americans through marketing and education with respect to physical activity and food consumption; expansion of the obesity prevention support structure provided by health care providers, insurers, and employers; and schools as a major national focal point for obesity prevention. The report calls on all individuals, organizations, agencies, and sectors that do or can influence physical activity and nutrition environments to assess and begin to act on their potential roles as leaders in obesity prevention.
Copyright 2012 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.