Report Urges Broad Attack on Child Obesity
Experts Say a 'Revolution' Is Needed to Reverse U.S. Epidemic
System 'Not Working' continued...
"I would say that the current system is not working," Robinsons says. "What we recommend is not more of the same current self-review system."
Food manufacturers reacted to the report, saying they supported the panel's broad societal view of the obesity problem. "It's putting every sector of society on alert," says Alison J. Kretser, director of scientific and nutrition policy at the Grocery Manufacturers of America.
Kretser says in an interview that food companies are "doing more and more in advertising and promotions [to] market healthy lifestyles."
The report also blames poor city and suburban planning environments that promote driving and sedentary activities instead of exercise. It concludes that local governments, private builders, and community groups should rethink development plans that would promote opportunities for physical activities such as biking and walking.
Medical schools should also make obesity evaluation and diagnosis part of their standard curriculum for all new doctors, states Kretser.
Experts acknowledged that their recommendations were extremely broad and that they would likely take decades to show a benefit in the health of the U.S. population. But they warned that until the changes are made, diseases once limited to adults, such as type 2 diabetes, will continue to grow as childhood illnesses, and obesity's current estimated $130 billion annual economic burden will also increase.
"We drifted into this," says Jeffrey Koplan, MD, a former CDC director who chaired the IOM panel. "We're not going to drift out of it. It's going to take work and it's going to take leadership and it's going to take resources," he says.