Reducing Childhood Obesity

The challenge of childhood obesity is significantly different, some argue, from the challenge of adult obesity. Children don’t have the power over their lives, decisions, and lifestyles that adults have (parents and adults make many decisions for them and have the power to enforce certain behaviors).

Social institutions have more impact on kids than on adults (like church, YMCA, and especially school — including school lunch programs, mandatory gym classes, possible nutritional education, etc.).

Finally, there is the fact that kids are less set in their ways than adults, so it’s easier to change their behaviors and teach them new concepts. The number of obese children has just passed 17% and continues to grow. What is the full range of underlying causes for this trend and which combined causes are chiefly responsible?

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Thought Leaders For This Challenge

David Ludwig, MD, PhD

Director, New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center Boston Children’s Hospital


Ernie Medina, MD


Christina Economos


Elaine Kolish


Christina Economos, PhD

Vice-Chair and Director, ChildObesity180 
Associate Professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University


Larry Cohen, MSW


Melissa Halas-Liang, MA, RD, CDE


Barbara Moore, PhD

President and CEO, Shape Up America!


Sally Squires