Surgeon Generals weigh in on child obesity
Acting U.S. Surgeon General Steven Galson was joined by six predecessors this spring at a conference on childhood obesity.
With one-in-five children in the United States considered obese, this generation may be sicker and die younger than their parents. This would be the first time in national history that a coming generation was less healthy than the previous generation.
Acting U.S. Surgeon General Steven Galson and predecessors C. Everett Koop, Antonia Novello, Audrey Manley, Richard Carmona, David Satcher and Kenneth Moritisugu gathered for an unusual joint appearance to address the childhood obesity epidemic before a health care justice summit in Washington, D.C. this spring.
They focused on the epidemic's implications for chronic disease, health care costs and the future of a generation of children with the highest obesity rates in U.S. history. As a group, they called for concerted action by government, communities, business and industry, education and families.
Today, more than 17 percent of children in the United States -- 12.5 million -- are overweight. Overweight children are at greater risk for many serious health problems. This initiative promotes the importance of healthy eating and physical activity at a young age to help prevent overweight and obesity in this country.
Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which sponsored the summit, May 7, said that "circumstances, forces and conditions...dictate and define our lives." Among those:
- Where you live predicts how well and how long you live;
- Children in the poorest families experience the worst health; and
- Families in poor neighborhoods have no regular access to decent supermarkets and healthy foods.