Extent and Consequences of Childhood Obesity

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Overall trend data clearly indicate that obesity prevalence in U.S. children and youth has risen to distressing proportions, but many questions remain about the nature, extent, and consequences of this problem. How much do we really know about how this epidemic is unfolding? Which population groups are most affected? What does the available evidence tell us about how to address this problem? Finally, what are the potential consequences of inaction with respect to social, developmental, and health outcomes and the associated health-care system costs? This chapter's discussion of these questions informs the recommendations throughout the remainder of this report.

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