The present review explores the factors that contribute to childhood obesity and presents options for prevention through education, regulation, and the increased involvement of osteopathic physicians and other healthcare providers.
In response, food makers have blamed physical inactivity and a lack of parent influence on diet.
Inner city neighborhoods have fewer open spaces for physical activity, more traffic on streets, and more violence—all of which often cause parents to keep their children inside where computers, video games, and television offer sedentary entertainment.
In addition, neighborhoods across the United States foster increased dependence on cars through insufficient public transportation and fewer sidewalks, trails, parks, and paths for walking and biking.
In the past 2 decades, advertising to children and adolescents in schools has followed the path of marketing and corporate contracts at universities.
From 1990 to 2000, commercialism in the form of sponsorship, exclusive agreements, and incentive programs jumped 395%.Congress, in response to corporate pressure, declined to approve the FTC's proposed advertising limitations and instead passed legislation that removed the FTC's authority to restrict television advertising.However, in 1990, Congress passed the Children's Television Act, which limited commercial time during children's programming.In addition, the number of fast-food vendors in schools are increasing, as are other types of food-related direct advertising in school computer screen savers, yearbook pages, in-school media channels, and textbook covers.Typical of schools nationwide, nearly 72% of school districts in California allow campus-based advertising for fast food and beverages, most commonly on vending machines, signs, scoreboards, and posters.Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States.As a result, children are at increased risk for myriad preventable acute and chronic medical problems—many of which are associated with increased morbidity and mortality.In fact, dental caries is the single most common chronic childhood disease and is five times more common than asthma.As described, schools provide an increasing amount of unhealthy fast food to their students.Meanwhile, the number of obese children has tripled among youth aged 6 to 11 years and doubled among those aged 12 to 16 years.Childhood obesity increases the risk of multiple acute and chronic medical problems as well as psychological issues, all of which can persist into adulthood and adversely affect quality of life.