Consistent with First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign to confront the issue of childhood obesity, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions heard testimony on March 4, 2010, about the prevalence of obesity among America’s youth. Panelists included Dr. Regina Benjamin, U.S. Surgeon General; Dr. Joseph Thompson, Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center to Prevent Childhood Obesity; Dr. Sandra Hassink, Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Obesity Leadership Workgroup; and Pittsburgh Steelers Running Back Rashard Mendenhall.
NASW recognizes childhood obesity as an major public health concern, with significant implications for future U.S. health care costs. Obese children are being diagnosed with health problems previously considered to be “adult” illnesses, such as Type II diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and fatty liver disease. Overweight and obese children are at risk for a host of serious future illnesses, including heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. Obesity and related complications disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minority children and children living in poverty.
NASW applauds Congress’ acknowledgment of this multi-dimensional issue and its efforts to address it. To view the hearing’s video and for more information, go to http://help.senate.gov/hearings/hearing/?id=059b63ce-5056-9502-5d89-33fed050a9f3.