Childhood Obesity: Most Experts Identified Physical Activity and the Use of Best Practices as Key to Successful Programs Page: 2 of 78
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
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 2001.5 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.7 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) Act8 and the
Childhood Obesity Reduction Act.9
You asked us to provide information on program strategies and elements experts
have identified as likely to contribute to success in addressing childhood obesity. You
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. Enclosure I contains the information we provided during our
September 8, 2005, briefing of your staff.
The term "program strategy" refers to the issue to be addressed by the program, such
as improving nutrition choices and eating habits or increasing physical activity.
Components of the program that can affect its success are referred to as "program
elements." For example, conducting a needs assessment prior to implementation,
using best practice or evidence-based programs, and conducting program evaluation
are all considered program elements.
5This information is for adults and reflects inflation adjusted per capita spending. Kenneth E. Thorpe,
Curtis S. Florence, David H. Howard, and Peter Joski, "The Impact of Obesity on Rising Medical
Spending," Health Affairs, W4-480 (2004).
6Eileen Salinsky and Wakina Scott, "Obesity in America: A Growing Threat," (Washington, D.C.:
National Health Policy Forum, July 2003).
7Eric A. Finkelstein, Ian C. Fiebelkorn, and Guijing Wang, "National Medical Spending Attributable to
Overweight and Obesity: How Much, and Who's Paying?" Health Affairs, W3-219 (2003).
8S. 1325, 109th Cong. (2005). As introduced, it would, among other things, direct the Secretary of the
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to coordinate with appropriate federal agencies as
well as with leadership within HHS in awarding competitive grants to plan and implement programs
that promote healthy eating behaviors and physical activity to prevent eating disorders, obesity, being
overweight, and related serious and chronic medical conditions.
9S. 1324, 109th Cong. (2005). As introduced, it would establish a Congressional Council on Childhood
Obesity, charged with encouraging elementary and middle schools to develop and implement plans to
reduce and prevent obesity, promote improved nutritional choices, and promote increased physical
activity among students. The proposed legislation would also establish the National Foundation for the
Prevention and Reduction of Childhood Obesity to support and carry out efforts to prevent and reduce
childhood obesity through school-based activities.
GAO-06-127R Childhood Obesity
Here’s what’s next.
This text can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Text.
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.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc299223/m1/2/: accessed April 25, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.