One out of every three children is overweight. Obesity is linked to increased risks of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, liver disease, hypertension, and heart disease. As the numbers of children with chronic disease goes up, so will the strain on the U.S. health care system, including the cost of health care. The Ecological Model of Childhood Overweight allows one to consider how an individual child's weight is influenced by characteristics ranging from the individual to the society. This article focuses on community characteristics that interact with children's weight status. It reviews community-based programs and whether they are successfully slowing the rate of childhood obesity, including demonstrations of recipe preparation, community gardens, and school-based curricula. It concludes with suggestions for intervention efforts and funding priorities focusing on high-risk populations of low-income overweight women of childbearing years. Interventions that occur during preconception may be true primary prevention of childhood obesity.
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