Many families across the country are aware of their role in preventing childhood obesity and are actively making changes towards a healthier lifestyle, while others are not yet engaged in change. A next step for parents, caregivers, children, and adolescents is to periodically assess the home environment and ask the following questions: Are the foods and beverages that are available and prepared in the home healthful and served in reasonable portions? Is physical activity emphasized and a family priority? Do families have established rules or guidelines limiting leisure screen time? Incremental changes are valuable and signal that progress is occurring.


A succinct assessment of the nation’s progress in preventing childhood obesity is not feasible given the diverse and varied nature of America’s communities and population. However, it can be said that awareness of obesity has been raised, actions have begun, coordination and prioritization of limited resources are critical, and evaluation of interventions within and across all sectors is essential. A long-term commitment to create a healthy environment for our children and youth is urgently needed. This commitment will require widespread changes in social norms, institutions, and practices beyond those that directly involve children and youth.

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