The Campaign to End Obesity

Today, two-thirds of U.S. adults and nearly one in three children struggle because they are overweight or have obesity.  The effects of the nation’s obesity epidemic are immense:  taxpayers, businesses, communities and individuals spend hundreds of billions of dollars each year due to obesity, including nearly $200 billion in medical costs.  Obesity is the reason that the current generation of youth is predicted to live a shorter life than their parents. 

Much can be done to reverse the epidemic, yet important opportunities to tackle obesity at the national policy level -- including changes that enable more Americans to eat healthy and be active, as well as those that provide appropriate medical treatment for patients -- have gone largely unmet.  The Campaign works to fill this gap.  By bringing together leaders from across industry, academia and public health with policymakers and their advisors, the Campaign provides the information and guidance that decision-makers need to make policy changes that will reverse one of the nation’s costliest and most prevalent diseases.



The Campaign to End Obesity
Research Suggests Students Adjusting to New School Lunches
The New York Times, 7.21.14
While many schools have been gradually improving the quality and nutrition of their lunches in the last few years, the updated standards released by the United States Department of Agriculture (as directed by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010), which most schools put in effect over the 2012-13 school year, meant larger, faster changes to lunches nearly across the board. Higher-fat milk is gone; schools are required to serve a vegetable and a fruit daily; there can be no trans fat; and half of the grains offered must be whole grains (in the 2014-15 school year, all grains must be whole grains). With the changes came news media reports of student complaints and food waste. In No Appetite for Good-for-You School Lunches, my colleague Vivan Yee quoted middle schoolers describing their school’s vegetable servings as “gross.” A USA Today article in September 2012 described protests and boycotts from Kansas to Massachusetts.
How A Good Education Can Actually Improve Poor Students’ Health
Think Progress , 7.23.14
A recent study may have confirmed what public health and education advocates have long tried to argue: a positive and supportive school environment improves the health of children from low socioeconomic backgrounds, ultimately increasing their academic performance. That’s because when students from impoverished neighborhoods attend high-performing schools, they participate in risky behaviors less often than their counterparts enrolled in low-performing schools, according to a study conducted by University of California, Los Angeles researchers. “Our study looks at how high performing schools affect the behaviors of adolescents,” Dr. Mitchell Wong, the lead author of the study, said in an interview with ThinkProgress. “Other studies have compared adults who have graduated from high school with adults that have not graduated from high school.”
Study: People Who Live Near Bike Lanes Exercise More
Philadelphia Magazine , 7.22.14
Looks like whole “If you build it, they will come” thing might actually be true when it comes to bike lanes and bike paths. A new study out of the UK and published in the American Journal of Public Health found that people who live near bike lanes get more exercise each week than people for whom such infrastructure isn’t as easily accessible. Specifically, they found that people who live within 0.6 miles of bike-friendly travel lanes average an extra 45 minutes of weekly exercise compared to those who are further flung. That 45 minutes was on top of what people were already doing to move their bodies, meaning that the extra time spent sweating didn't replace other physical activities. Study authors note that the penchant toward surplus activity as a result of proximity to bike lanes held true across genders, age groups and social groups, but was particularly evident among those who didn't have access to a car.
Study Links Obesity to Low Endurance, Fatigue in Workplace
Science World Report, 7.24.14
Based on the finding, researchers suggest that the U.S. workplaces need to develop innovative strategies to prevent fatigue among obese employees. The study was conducted at the Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, where researchers examined endurance levels of 32 individuals who took part in three different tasks that involved a range of upper extremity demands. The participants were divided into four categories that included non-obese young, obese young, non-obese older, and obese older. Their tasks involved range of upper extremity demands that included hand grip, intermittent shoulder elevation and a simulated assemble operation. Every tasks involved periods of work and rest and included pacing similar to those experienced by workers in manufacturing settings. "Our findings indicated that on average, approximately 40 percent shorter endurance times were found in the obese group, with the largest differences in the hand grip and simulated assembly tasks.
Child Obesity Rates Stabilizing But They’re Still Really High , 7.21.14
Childhood abdominal obesity rates are leveling off after significantly increasing for years, a new study conducted by University of Minnesota researchers shows. This is good news, yes, because at least kids aren’t getting fatter. But don’t let those headlines fool you into thinking obesity has become less of a problem. The childhood obesity epidemic is still severe: 17 percent of children and teens in the United States are obese and 32 percent are overweight. The new study, published in the medical journal Pediatrics this week, analyzed and compared health data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) over the past decade. More than 12,600 American children ages 2 to 18 years old were included in the study. While previous studies have suggested that overall childhood obesity rates had stabilized, the fact that abdominal obesity in particular has stabilized is notable since it is the most dangerous type of obesity.
Almost half of America’s obese youth don’t know they’re obese
The Washington Post, 7.23.14
The good news is that after decades of furious growth, obesity rates finally seem to be leveling off in the U.S. The bad news is that America's youth still appear to be dangerously unaware of the problem. Forty-two percent of obese children and adolescents in the U.S.—ages 8 to 15—misperceive their weight as normal, according to a new report (pdf) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. Among obese boys, the rate is almost 48 percent; for obese girls, it's roughly 36 percent. And America's overweight children are even more confused about the relative size of their respective waistlines—some three quarters of overweight children and teens consider themselves to be "about the right weight." The prevalence of weight misperception isn't only characteristic of the country's heavier children.
Will You Be Obese? Look at Your Sisters, Brothers
U.S. News and World Report ,
Obesity is known to run in families, but new research suggests this relationship may be the strongest among siblings. Although older children in a two-child home with an obese parent are more than twice as likely to be obese, having an obese older sibling may raise the risk more than fivefold for a younger child, whether the parents are obese or not, the researchers reported. "Siblings have a lot of influence," said lead researcher Matthew Harding, an assistant professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University in Durham, N.C. "Children often model their behavior on that of their older siblings. Older siblings can have a strong influence on the attitudes and behaviors of younger siblings in relation to nutrition and exercise," Harding noted.
More news

New Release: The New Markets Tax Credit: Opportunities for Investment
in Healthy Foods and Physical Activity

Click here for additional information

CBO Scoring Misses Billions of Dollars in Potential Long-Term Savings from Effective Obesity Prevention Policies

Click here for additional information.

Read More

To learn more about changes in federal policy that will enable more Americans to eat healthy and be active, as well as those that provide appropriate medical treatment for patients, visit the Campaign to End Obesity Action Fund's website by clicking here.  

* In 2010, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported that nearly 20 percent of the increase in U.S. health care spending (from 1987‐2007) was caused by obesity.

* The annual health costs related to obesity in the U.S. are nearly $200 billion, and nearly 21 percent of U.S. medical costs can be attributed on obesity, according to research released by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

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