Released: June 12, 2014
Note: Workshop Summaries contain the opinion of the presenters, but do NOT reflect the conclusions of the IOM.
For the first time in decades, promising news has emerged regarding efforts to curb the obesity crisis in the United States. For example, obesity rates have fallen among low-income children in several states, the prevalence of obesity has plateaued among girls, and targeted efforts in some states have reduced the prevalence of obesity among children. Yet major problems remain. Diseases associated with obesity continue to incur substantial costs and cause widespread human suffering. Moreover, substantial disparities in obesity rates exist among population groups, and in some cases these disparities are widening.
In 2013, the IOM formed the Roundtable on Obesity Solutions to engage leadership from multiple sectors in addressing the obesity crisis. The roundtable’s membership includes representatives of public health, health care, government, the food industry, education, philanthropy, the nonprofit sector, and academia. On January 7, 2014, the roundtable held its first public workshop where presenters described interventions designed to prevent and treat obesity in different settings.
Here is a summary of the key points highlighted by the individual speakers who covered schools.
Evidence on what works in school-based obesity prevention efforts has grown dramatically over the past decade. The result has been guidelines, recommendations, and programs that have improved students’ health, with some school-based strategies also yielding cost savings. (Lee)
Continued attention to translation, dissemination, and diffusion could increase the uptake and sustainability of evidence-based tools, resources, and professional development for diverse school communities. (Lee)
Designating physical education as a core subject in schools and making better use of grassroots innovation and champions could help bend the obesity curve. (Economos)
Technical assistance and training, school-community collaborations, and adequate resources could help ensure that every food sold to a child in school is healthy. (Donze Black)
Source: www.iom.edu (Institute of Medicine)