Considering The Costs For Children And For Society

The primary concern about childhood obesity is its potential impact on well-being, not only in childhood but into adulthood, with the term "well-being" reflecting the committee's view that social and emotional health is as important as physical health. As discussed in Chapter 1, families may differ in the value they place on the different health outcomes of obesity, and the merits they attribute to certain benefits or drawbacks of changing behaviors to address it (Whitaker, 2004a). Research suggests that some parents do not perceive weight to be a health issue for their children (Baughcum et al., 2000; Jain et al., 2001; Borra et al., 2003), independent of their child's physical and social functioning. Thus, individuals may differ in the value they place on various aspects of their well-being (Buchanan, 2000). Depending on these values, childhood obesity may represent a greater concern to some than to others. Failing to reverse the trend in childhood obesity means that many obese children, over their lifetimes, could experience significant impairments in multiple domains of functioning. They are more likely to be chronically ill, to have a negative impact on their earning potential, and to even die prematurely.

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