Current childhood obesity statistics are dramatic and worrisome. Today's children may live shorter lives than their parents – a first in this nation’s history. Over the past 40 years, rates of obesity have doubled in 2- to 5-year-olds, quadrupled in 6- to 11-year-olds, and tripled in 12- to 19-year-olds. The causes of obesity are complex and interconnected. The environment created by culture, societal norms, community assets, and practices within the home all influence a child’s ability to make healthy choices and, ultimately, affect his or her weight status.
From the start, ChildObesity180’s approach to addressing the epidemic has been unique: combine rigorous research and evaluation, innovative strategies, multi-sector collaboration, and eventual widespread promulgation of evidence-based practices. At the outset, we examined more than 100 recommendations from credible organizations, like the Institute of Medicine and the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity Prevention, to identify priority areas with the highest potential for national scale-up and probability of success in reversing the childhood obesity trend. These rigorously-screened priority areas are the foundation of a portfolio of initiatives created by ChildObesity180 to turn ideas into action: Active Schools Acceleration Project (ASAP), Healthy Kids Out of School, the Restaurant Initiative, and the Breakfast Initiative.