Obesity affects America's children both in childhood and into their adult years. Unfortunately, a long history of public policy has done little to effectively reduce obesity among children. Federal programs including the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and the School Meals Initiative for Healthy Children have proven to be less than effective in reducing obesity rates among school-aged children. Studies find that children participating in these programs are more likely to be overweight than their brown-bag peers while nutritional targets are missed. Various iterations of school-based nutrition programs have proven to be ineffective and wasteful, yet policy leaders continue to consume tax dollars with their implementation. Although strict guidelines for evaluating scientific evidence were historically used to ensure rigorous reviews were conducted, recent relaxation of those guidelines jeopardizes the integrity of the scientific platform. Consequently, recommendations that were once rooted in science may be less reliable due to a compromise of the scientific literature review process, and the conclusions drawn by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee may be somewhat questionable. Public policy must be augmented by scientific evidence and any further obesity reduction initiatives must be well-grounded in research that has been rigorously reviewed and evaluated.
Keywords: childhood obesity; nutrition; obesity; public health.
Copyright © 2016 by Duke University Press.