Warman also points out that girls being more “self-conscious about their bodies” may be a reason the obesity rate is not as high among them. Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition and food studies at New York University, hones in on how boys and young men are prime targets for fast-food marketing:
“Marketers encourage boys and young men to eat and drink as much as they can as part of macho lifestyles. The bigger the portions, the more the calories, and the bigger the person.”
Complicating the treatment of childhood obesity is that children, being children, have not finished growing so “the goal of any program may be to help them grow into a healthier weight rather than to actually lose pounds.” A successful program involves the child’s family “as a whole, changing what everybody eats and how much time they are all active, not sitting in front of a computer screen or television,” the New York Times underscores.
Wellpoint, one of the US’s largest health insurers, is seeking to train pediatricians and link them to dieticians; the health plan covers four such visits to doctors and four to dieticians. United Health has piloted a program that includes a partnership with the YMCA in Rhode Island and is meant to be a “friendlier, more cost-effective alternative” than hospital treatment.
As the New York Times quotes the chief medical officer for WellPoint, Dr. Samuel R. Nussbaum: “If this were easy, if there were clear outcomes for success, we would be investing in these.” The search for programs to help curb obesity in children is just starting and, given the latest figures from the CDC, not a moment too late.
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