Obesity - a growing problem, not just in the West, and not just in adults. Governments around the world are increasingly concerned about the rise of obesity in childhood. But how are we tackling the problem? Perhaps not very well.
A report released this week suggests that there is a lack of good quality evidence on the effectiveness of interventions on which to base national strategies or to inform clinical practice.
Halting the rising prevalence of overweight and obesity in children is a key public health priority for any government. Not only has obesity been linked with a number of health problems (including hypertension and an increased risk of cardiovascular problems), it can also havea significant impact on the psychological well-being of many children, writes the report, Effective Health Care.
There are currently a number of government initiatives specifically highlighting the key role that schools can play in improving the health of children. The report suggests that there is some evidence that varied school based programmes that promote physical activity, the modification of dietary intake and the targeting of sedentary behaviours may help reduceobesity in school children, particularly girls.
Future research must be of good methodological quality, involve large numbers of participants in appropriate settings and needs to be of longer duration and intensity, recommends the report.
It is no surprise that Effective Health Care stresses the need for governments to address the cost effectiveness of obesity related prevention and treatment.
Effective Health Care is an independent report produced by the UK National Health Service (NHS) Centre for Reviews and Dissemination at the University of York.