BOX 3-1

Goals of Obesity Prevention in Children and Youth

The goal of obesity prevention in children and youth is to create—through directed social change—an environmental-behavioral synergy that promotes:

  • For the population of children and youth

    • Reduction in the incidence of childhood and adolescent obesity

    • Reduction in the prevalence of childhood and adolescent obesity

    • Reduction of mean population BMI levels

    • Improvement in the proportion of children meeting the Dietary Guidelines for Americans

    • Improvement in the proportion of children meeting physical activity guidelines

    • Achieving physical, psychological, and cognitive growth and developmental goals

  • For individual children and youth

    • A healthy weight trajectory, as defined by the CDC BMI charts

    • A healthful diet (quality and quantity)

    • Appropriate amounts and types of physical activity

    • Achieving physical, psychosocial, and cognitive growth and developmental goals

Because it may take a number of years to achieve and sustain these goals, intermediate goals are needed to assess progress toward reduction of obesity through policy and system changes. Examples include:

  • Increased number of children who safely walk and bike to school

  • Improved access to and affordability of fruits and vegetables for low-income populations

  • Increased availability and use of community recreational facilities

  • Increased play and physical activity opportunities

  • Increased number of new industry products and advertising messages that promote energy balance at a healthy weight

  • Increased availability and affordability of healthful foods and beverages at supermarkets, grocery stores, and farmers markets located within walking distance of the communities they serve

  • Changes in institutional and environmental policies that promote energy balance

mate aim of obesity prevention in children and youth, however, is to create, through directed social change, an environmental-behavioral synergy that promotes positive outcomes both at the population and individual levels. Box 3-1 summarizes these long-term and intermediate goals, which will be discussed in greater detail throughout the report.



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