(The Financial Times )- - One fifth of US children and youths will be obese within four years unless more is done to tackle the obesity epidemic sweeping the country, according to a study by the Institute of Medicine.
The report, released on Wednesday, called for the creation of a high-level federal government taskforce on childhood obesity and increased federal investment in long-term prevention programmes.
“The childhood obesity epidemic is at the point where it is time to move beyond a reactive small-scale approach and toward a proactive, co-ordinated and sustained response,” the report said. “There is an urgent need for action on this public health concern.”
Childhood obesity has risen sharply in recent years, with 17.1 per cent of American children and adolescents considered obese and a further 16.5 per cent at risk of becoming obese.
The government has set a goal of reducing obesity to 5 per cent of the population by 2010 but, if current trends persist, an estimated 20 per cent of US children and youth will be obese by 2010, a 13-member panel of experts said.
The escalating public health issue has put pressure on the food and beverage industries to stop marketing sugary and salty food and drink to children.
The report said efforts to curb childhood obesity had intensified since the Institute of Medicine, a non- governmental organisation, reported on the problem in 2004 but the results had been “spotty” owing to lack of an adequate framework for assessing prevention efforts.
Government, schools, communities and industry had all helped raise awareness about obesity and promoted initiatives to combat it, the report acknowledged, but these efforts were “fragmented”.
The report noted that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Verb initiative, a social marketing campaign to promote physical activity in children ages nine to 13, would be discontinued this month owing to a lack of funding.
Jeffrey Koplan, of Emory University and chairman of the committee that wrote the report, said: “The termination of a well-designed and effective programme to increase physical activity and combat childhood obesity calls into question the commitment of both the government and many other stakeholders who could have supported the continuity of the Verb campaign.”
A Saudi aggression fighter jet targeted a citizen's car driving in Fara area of Kutaf district in Saada province overnight, killing the driver and injuring his friend, a security official said on Monday.
Scores of Saudi enemy soldiers were killed and injured on Sunday when the army and popular forces repelled a Saudi military attempt to sneak into Shurfah site in the border province of Najran, a military official said.
The operation was accomplished successfully against the Saudi
Saudi aggression warplanes have launched more than 49 airstrikes over the past hours on several residential areas across Yemen, a security official said on Sunday.
The airstrikes targeted the areas of Malahiz and Husama in Dhahir district, and areas Thuban, Masahif and Sdad in Bakim district of northern Saada province.