Understanding Childhood Obesity

By J. Clinton Smith | Go to book overview

7.
If Prevention
Doesn't Work

All those who drink of this remedy recover in a short time, except those whom it does not help, who die. Therefore, it is obvious that it fails only in incurable cases.

Galen

If obesity is increasing to the extent that is described in chapter 2, we can conclude that efforts at prevention haven't worked very well in America, at least since the 1960s. Statistics reveal that in 1989–90, about 44 million Americans aged 18 years or older were trying to lose weight—38 percent of adult women and 24 percent of adult men (Horm et al. 1993). Young people also have been concerned with their weight: during this same time period, an estimated 44 percent of high school girls and 15 percent of boys reported that they were trying to lose weight. Another 26 percent of girls and 15 percent of boys said they were trying to avoid gaining weight (Serdula et al. 1993). Even preadolescent girls think about weight control: 40 percent of the 9- and 10-year-old girls in the NHLBI Growth and Health Study reported that they were trying to lose weight (Schreiber et al. 1996).

How do people try to lose weight? The majority (80 percent) of adults try to do so by eating less than usual and 60 percent by increasing physical activity. A much smaller proportion do both. Some attempt weight control by refraining from eating before bedtime. Adolescents most commonly try to lose weight

-99-

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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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