Obesity Prevention Programs for School-aged Children and Adolescents

  • David M. Janicke
  • Bethany J. Sallinen
  • Jessica C. White Plume
Part of the Issues in Clinical Child Psychology book series (ICCP)

Obesity is a critical public health epidemic (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2000). The most recent data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey shows that over 33 percent of children between the ages of two and 19 years are either at-risk for overweight status (between the 85th and 95th percentile for body mass index [BMI] based on age and gender) or overweight (above the 95th percentile for BMI based on age and gender) (Ogden et al., 2006). Childhood obesity is linked to a variety of negative health and mental health consequences for children and adolescents (Freedman, Dietz, Srinivasan, & Berenson, 1999; Zametkin, Zoon, Klein, & Munson, 2004). Moreover, childhood and adolescent obesity are significant predictors of overweight status in adulthood and further health complications as an adult (Field, Cook, & Gillman, 2005; Freedman et al., 2005). Obesity-associated annual hospital costs specific to children ages six to 17 have increased threefold over the last 20 years (Wang & Dietz, 2002). Not surprisingly, reducing the proportion of the U.S. population that is overweight or obese is a primary goal of Healthy People 2010 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).

With the increasing recognition of the obesity epidemic, its tremendous health consequences for individuals, and the cost associated with treatment, funding organizations and researchers have begun to devote significant resources to reducing obesity. While a number of factors related to the obesogenic environment impact obesity, most experts agree that the fundamental proximal issue is an imbalance in the energy equation in which caloric intake exceeds calorie expenditure (Schmitz & Jeffery, 2002). However, the fact that obesity is overtly or inadvertently supported across social, cultural, institutional, and physical environments makes effectively changing obesity trends a significant challenge. While the treatment of children and adolescents who are obese is a critical step to improving the health of children across the world, reducing and maintaining weight loss is difficult. Ultimately, stemming the tide of this epidemic may rest in prevention strategies that decrease the development of obesity in children and adolescents (Gill, 1997).


Physical Activity Weight Status Obesity Prevention School Lunch Physical Education Class 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • David M. Janicke
    • 1
  • Bethany J. Sallinen
    • 1
  • Jessica C. White Plume
    • 1
  1. 1.University of FloridaGainesville

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