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Perspectives on the Prevention of Childhood Obesity in Children and Youth
us tonight. We are very happy to have all of you with us this evening as well.
This project was made possible by a number of funders from both the government and the private sector. They include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Disease, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the NIH Division of Nutrition Research Coordination.
We also were very fortunate to garner support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Not only has the foundation played a part in the support of the project that led up to the report, but it has also undertaken with us an activity to promote the ideas generated by the report to solve the problem of childhood obesity in the United States and to work together to eliminate and reverse this epidemic.
The obesity epidemic hasn’t always existed, but it is an epidemic that has emerged so rapidly that it is stunning when you think about its impact in demographic terms. In the last 30 years in the United States, the prevalence of obesity has more than doubled in children aged 2 to 5 years; in adolescents, age 12 to 19 years, it has also doubled. In children aged 6 to 11 years, it has tripled. The frequency of the problem has increased in very dramatic terms. Defining the scope and nature of the problem, describing the multiple approaches necessary to solving it, particularly the importance of approaching the problem simultaneously as a community and population-based activity, was a hallmark of the work of the committee that Dr. Koplan chaired.
Dr. Koplan is an individual whose preparation for this work was as ideal as one could imagine. His own background in medicine and public health includes work in the United States and overseas on a whole range of disease and health promotion concerns. Dr. Koplan also served as the director of the CDC and Prevention from 1998 to 2002. In recent years, I have been especially privileged to be able to closely work with him because of his agreement to serve, and his election to, the council of the IOM. Because of his