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Keywords:

  • overweight;
  • obesity;
  • public policy;
  • nursing

Obesity in adults and children: a call for action

Obesity/overweight in adults and children is a worldwide health problem associated with substantial economic burden as measured by paid sick leave, life and disability insurance rates, and obesity-related physician visits and hospital stays. Overweight/obese people experience hypertension, elevated cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes and suffer more joint and mobility problems than people within the normal weight for height range. While there is need to understand individual behaviors that can be modified to promote weight loss and weight maintenance, there is as great a need to consider contextual factors at the societal level that can impede or even sabotage weight control efforts. In every country with improved living standards people will continue to eat too much and engage in too little physical activity. The call for action is for all modernized societies to alter environments and attitudes to support, rather than hinder, healthy dietary intake and being physically active.