Understanding Childhood Obesity

By J. Clinton Smith | Go to book overview

6.
What Can Be Done
to Prevent
Childhood Obesity?

Everything our parents said was good is bad—sun, milk, red meat, college.

Woody Allen, Annie Hall

What your mother always told you was right.

Dr. George Bray, Director of the Pennington
Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University

Most of us would agree that preventing a disease is better than having to treat it. But in considering prevention of obesity, we should first ask, “Is it realistic to think that obesity, whether occurring during childhood or later, during adulthood, can be prevented by action taken during the early years?” My own answer is a qualified “maybe.” My reason for this somewhat pessimistic answer is based on what we learned in chapter 2—that the proportions of obese children and adults have increased dramatically in this country over the past 35 years. This is a compelling, though indirect, argument that preventive efforts can be successful: these increases were unlikely to have occurred because of widespread mutations in such large numbers of people. The increased rates of obesity could probably have been prevented during this time if excessive food, especially fatty

-81-

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Understanding Childhood Obesity
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Understanding Childhood Obesity 1
  • 1. - Why is Obesity an Important Health Problem in America? 3
  • 2. - Who is Obese, and How Do We Know? 17
  • 3. - How Our Bodies Obtain Energy 33
  • 4. - Obesity: a Disorder of Energy 50
  • 5. - Some Factors That May Determine Obesity 64
  • 6. - What Can Be Done to Prevent Childhood Obesity? 81
  • 7. - If Prevention Doesn't Work 99
  • 8. - The Great Beyond: New Frontiers in the Treatment of Obesity 122
  • Notes 131
  • Glossary 135
  • References 140
  • Index 149
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