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It was a privilege to chair this Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee whose members not only brought their breadth and depth of expertise to this important topic but were actively engaged in the committee's work. This report represents the result of six meetings, two open sessions, numerous emails and phone conferences, and the extensive analysis and thoughtful writing contributed by the committee members who volunteered their time to work on this study. I thank each of the committee members for their dedication and perseverance in working through the diversity of issues in a truly interdisciplinary collaboration.

The committee greatly benefited from the opportunity for discussion with the individuals who made presentations and attended the committee's workshops and meetings, including: Neal Baer, Kelly Brownell, Harold Goldstein, Paula Hudson Collins, Mary Engle, Susan McHale, Alex Molnar, Eric Rosenthal, Mark Vallianatos, Jennifer Wilkins, and Judith Young, as well as all those who spoke during the open forums (Appendix E).

This study was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; the Division of Nutrition Research Coordination of the National Institutes of Health; and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The committee thanks Terry Bazzarre, William Dietz, Karen Donato, Gilman Grave, Van Hubbard,

Woodie Kessel, Kathryn McMurry, Pamela Starke-Reed, Susan Yanovski, and their colleagues for their support and guidance on the committee's task.

This study was conducted in collaboration with the IOM Board on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP), and we wish to thank both Rose Martinez, director of the HPDP Board, for her thoughtful interactions and discussions with the committee, and Carrie Szlyk, who was of great assistance in the early phases of this study.

We appreciate the extensive analysis of lessons learned from other public health efforts and their relevance to preventing childhood obesity written by Michael Eriksen (Appendix D). Many thanks to Sally Ann Lederman and Lynn Parker for their technical review of sections of the report. Kathi Hanna's work as a consultant, financial oversight by Elisabeth Rimaud, and the editing work of Steven Marcus, Laura Penny, and Tom Burroughs are also greatly appreciated. The work of Rebecca Klima-Hudson and Stephanie Deutsch is also most appreciated. The report has been enhanced by the artwork of Becky Heavner, and we thank her for these creative efforts.

Last, but not least, I would like to thank the Food and Nutrition Board study staff, Linda Meyers, Cathy Liverman, Vivica Kraak, Janice Okita, Tazima Davis, and Shannon Ruddy, for their extraordinary competence, diligence, wisdom, and intellectual openness. Their in-depth knowledge of the subject matter, keen sense of policy and practice, and willingness to constantly work and revise to make this document as useful, thoughtful, and accurate as possible was invaluable in its creation.

Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance presents a set of recommendations that, when implemented together, will catalyze synergis-tic actions among families, communities, schools, and the public and private sectors to effectively prevent the large majority of children and youth in the United States from becoming obese. Although the committee members have diverse backgrounds, over the course of this study we have gained a deeper appreciation for the difficulty and complexity of the steps necessary to prevent obesity in our nation's youth. We provide this guidance with the hope that it will benefit the health of our nation and future generations.

Jeffrey P. Koplan, Chair

Committee on Prevention of Obesity in

Children and Youth

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