Childhood obesity: successes and failures of preventive interventions

Authors

  • Berit L Heitmann,

    1. Research Unit for Dietary Studies, Institute of Preventive Medicine, Copenhagen University Hospital, Centre for Health and Society, Copenhagen, Denmark.
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  • Jeffrey Koplan,

    1. Woodruff Health Science Center, Global Health Institute, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
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  • Lauren Lissner

    Corresponding author
    1. Public Health epidemiology unit, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden.
      L Lissner, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University, Box 454, Göteborg, SE 405 30 Sweden. E-mail: lauren.lissner@medfak.gu.se, Phone +46-31-786-6847, Fax +46-31-778-1704.
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L Lissner, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University, Box 454, Göteborg, SE 405 30 Sweden. E-mail: lauren.lissner@medfak.gu.se, Phone +46-31-786-6847, Fax +46-31-778-1704.

Abstract

Despite progress toward assuring the health of today's young population, the 21st century began with an epidemic of childhood obesity. There is general agreement that the situation must be addressed by means of primary prevention, but relatively little is known about how to intervene effectively. The evidence behind the assumption that childhood obesity can be prevented was discussed critically in this roundtable symposium. Overall, there was general agreement that action is needed and that the worldwide epidemic itself is sufficient evidence for action. As the poet, writer, and scholar Wittner Bynner (1881–1968) wrote, “The biggest problem in the world could have been solved when it was small”.

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