Green shoots of hope: obesity prevention in US schools

There is currently an epidemic of childhood obesity in the USA. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Evaluation Surveys from 1963-65 until the present, show that obesity has increased three- to fourfold, so that now 16% of American children are obese (as assessed by body mass index (BMI) greater than the 95th percentile for age and gender) and a third are above the mark to be considered overweight (greater than the 85th percentile). This has fuelled an epidemic of type 2 diabetes in young people. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three children born in 2000 will have diabetes sometime in their life and it is likely the current generation of children will not live as long as their parents. And the USA is not alone; many other countries are also facing marked increases in childhood obesity rates.