The Role of United States Law to Prevent and Control Childhood Obesity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In the United States, 32% of children are overweight, 16% of children are obese, and 11% are extremely obese. Since 1980, the prevalence of childhood obesity has tripled, making this generation the first expected to have a shorter life expectancy than that of their parents. Serious action is needed on multiple levels and across various sectors to address this public health crisis. Public health experts, including those at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM), recommend policy changes at the environmental level to address obesity in the United States. Change is required in several settings, including communities, schools, childcare, worksites, and healthcare facilities. The government can facilitate and support such changes by enacting legislation and regulation at the federal, state, tribal, and local levels. There is an emerging understanding that health needs to be considered in all policies in order to address health disparities in general and the significant public health issue of obesity. Government agencies whose primary mission does not necessarily include health can positively influence public health by considering the impact their policy making has on health. The federal government has concrete opportunities to do this in the upcoming years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGlobal Perspectives on Childhood Obesity
Subtitle of host publicationCurrent Status, Consequences and Prevention
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9780123749956
StatePublished - Sep 3 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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