How Lawmakers and Schools Are Tackling Our Childhood Obesity Problem

February 15 2011, 12:00 PM

After the last official numbers were released showing Colorado to be the leanest state in the nation, 5280 editors surveyed readers to find out, "Are we really as healthy as we think?" Lisa Piscopo, vice president of research for the Colorado Children's Campaign, was asking similar questions. As a special series from Education News Colorado and Solutions explains, Piscopo became especially concerned after learning that obesity among Colorado's children had skyrocketed 23 percent between 2003 and 2007—nearly the highest increase in the nation.

Beyond the obvious health issues, the costs to the health-care system are astronomical, which has piqued the attention of lawmakers: "Across the country, public policy strategies mimicking the successful anti-tobacco campaigns have begun to take root in the anti-obesity movement, calling for nutritional labeling in restaurants, targeting taxes on certain foods and mobilizing public education campaigns," writes Solutions. On the bright side, the alarm has also made some schools more proactive about tackling obesity, writes Ed News, which looks at "three different approaches in place in Denver-area school districts that...bear study in hopes their early successes can be replicated." Such programs tend to vary widely in efficacy, but Reuters highlights one in which the kids were able to lose weight and keep it off.