Outside editorial: U.S. should focus on parents in fighting childhood obesity

Posted: Friday, July 20, 2007

Uncle Sam sure can cook up a mess of expensive, half-baked ideas. For instance, there's this $1 billion federal initiative aimed at persuading children to eat healthy food. It's part of an effort to address the long-running childhood obesity epidemic in the United States.

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Guess what? The kids don't give a burp.

Studies of 57 nutrition-education programs found mostly failure, The Associated Press reported earlier this month. And prospects for reversing childhood obesity appear as remote as ever.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity rates nationally have nearly quintupled among 6- to 11-year-olds and tripled among teens and children ages 2 to 5 since the 1970s, the AP reported. Plus, obesity-related medical consequences among all Americans, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, exact a $100 billion toll annually.

Those realities merit federal concern, but Uncle Sam should put the priority on helping parents address their children's diets and sedentary lifestyles that are exacerbated by sitting at TVs and computers.



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