Reversing the childhood obesity epidemic will not be achieved until there is a change in societal norms which may require a new approach to improve child health. The progress toward the goal of effective, sustainable child obesity prevention strategies are dependent upon strengthening current approaches to add a component that addresses pregnancy onward. It is essential to alter early-life systems that promote intergenerational transmission of obesity that will intercept or stop the continuing cycle of the obesity epidemic. It was widely understood that the epidemic was caused by changes in children’s environments, Whitaker (2011) found that the expression of obesity genes can be altered by the environment. The study also found that obesity is caused by both overeating and inactivity. Other causes of obesity which are complimentary are the amount and type of food people eat, individual and group behavior, household and community factors, free choice and constraints on those choices, and poverty and affluence. Multiple causes of social origin are increasingly recognized to be related in childhood obesity which needs to be addressed with collective actions. Innovative multifactorial approach such as the “Let’s Move” campaign unveiled almost four years ago by First Lady Michelle Obama has the potential for altering the course of childhood obesity. Early intervention programs have higher overall impact on reversing the childhood obesity epidemic than health services focusing on health conditions associated with the disease. “Let’s Move” and “One Nation’s Echo (O.N.E.)” are examples of innovative strategies that will promote behavioral and social change.
Nader, P. R., Huang, T. T. K., Gahagan, S., Kumanyika, S., Hammond, R. A., & Christoffel, K. K. (2012). Next steps in obesity prevention: altering early life systems to support healthy parents, infants, and toddlers. Childhood Obesity (Formerly Obesity and Weight Management), 8(3), 195-204.
Whitaker, R. C. (2011). The childhood obesity epidemic: lessons for preventing socially determined health conditions. Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine, 165(11), 973.