Childhood Obesity: Most Experts Identified Physical Activity and the Use of Best Practices as Key to Successful Programs

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In the past 30 years, the number of obese children has increased throughout the United States, leading some policy makers to rank childhood obesity as a critical public health threat. The rate of childhood obesity has more than tripled for children between the ages of 6 and 11 and also increased for children of other ages over the same period. According to a 2005 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, there are approximately 9 million children nationwide over the age of 6 who are considered obese. An important consequence ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. October 7, 2005.

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Description

Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In the past 30 years, the number of obese children has increased throughout the United States, leading some policy makers to rank childhood obesity as a critical public health threat. The rate of childhood obesity has more than tripled for children between the ages of 6 and 11 and also increased for children of other ages over the same period. According to a 2005 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, there are approximately 9 million children nationwide over the age of 6 who are considered obese. An important consequence of childhood obesity is the increasing number of children experiencing illnesses and other health problems associated with obesity, such as hypertension and type II diabetes. The rise in obesity-related health conditions also introduces added economic costs. Between 1979 and 1999, obesity-associated hospital costs for children between the ages of 6 and 17 more than tripled, from $35 million to $127 million. Moreover, because studies suggest that obese children are likely to become overweight or obese adults--particularly if the children are obese during adolescence--the increase in the number of obese children may also contribute to health care expenditures when they become adults. Obesity-related health expenditures are estimated to have accounted for more than 25 percent of the growth in health care spending between 1987 and 2001. In 2000, an estimated $117 billion was spent for health-related expenditures due to obesity, with direct costs accounting for an estimated $61 billion. These direct costs accounted for approximately 5 percent of U.S. health expenditures. Nearly half of all medical spending related to adult obesity is financed by the public sector, through Medicaid and Medicare. Some federal agencies support efforts to target the issue of childhood obesity, and legislation introduced in the current Congress also focuses on the issue, including the Improved Nutrition and Physical Activity (IMPACT) Act and the Childhood Obesity Reduction Act. Congress asked us to provide information on program strategies and elements experts have identified as likely to contribute to success in addressing childhood obesity. Congress also asked us to provide information on how those strategies and elements have been implemented. In this report we (1) describe the key strategies identified by experts as most important to include in programs to prevent or reduce childhood obesity; (2) provide examples of how selected programs implemented the key strategies identified and challenges these programs faced; (3) describe the program elements identified by experts as most important to include in programs to prevent or reduce childhood obesity, as well as outcome measures identified as important; and (4) provide examples of how selected programs implemented key elements identified and the challenges these programs faced, as well as examples of possible roles for the federal government."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • October 7, 2005

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Childhood Obesity: Most Experts Identified Physical Activity and the Use of Best Practices as Key to Successful Programs, text, October 7, 2005; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc299223/: accessed November 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.