The Growing Epidemic Of Childhood Obesity

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Introduction The United States has seen childhood obesity rates double in children and increase four times in adolescents since the 1980’s.1 The Center for Disease Control reports that in 2012, over one third of children and adolescents were considered obese or overweight.1 There is an urgent need to address the growing epidemic of childhood obesity, as obesity has been shown to have deteriorating immediate health effects and increase the risk of chronic disease such as diabetes, osteoarthritis and cancer in adulthood.1 Although there are many influential factors in a child’s weight, nutrition is one of the main ones to consider, as a complete and balanced diet also promotes healthy growth and development.2 Research indicates that school encompasses a significant portion of a child’s time, cognitive, physical and social development, and as such, has the responsibility to promote a healthy lifestyle for children.3 Because of the nationwide concern surrounding childhood obesity, recent federal wellness policy for public schools mandate that nutrition education, physical activity and other wellness promoting programs must be part of the school environment.4 The purpose of this review of literature is to evaluate if school nutrition is one of the major contributors to childhood obesity and how policy changes have affected the problem. In 2005, the US government made a long lasting impact in the public school system when legislation aimed at providing nutritional guidance
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