.

The challenges faced by mothers are not limited by geography. Childhood obesity, for example, is a major problem for Americans—and a growing problem in many other countries. It is a problem that demands a wide range of solutions, and we can all benefit by sharing them.

The World Health Organization projects that in five years about 1.6 billion adults around the world will be overweight, and about 400 million will be obese. The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation was founded to help address this challenge. Our goal is to help reduce obesity in the United State—especially childhood obesity—by 2015. On a recent speaking tour in Australia and New Zealand, for example, I found in conversations with corporate and community leaders, and parents, that the childhood obesity challenge is approaching U.S. levels. In the United States, about 1 in 3 kids are obese or considered “at risk.” But other industrialized countries are not far behind. In Australia, the federal government’s Preventative Health Task Force (released in 2009) found that about 1 in 4 children are overweight or obese. In nearby New Zealand, the 2007 Health Survey found that about 30 percent of children were.

Recent studies in Canada, the United Kingdom, and many other countries show the same thing: More and more people are obese, and more and more children are following in their footsteps. In my meetings with NGOs, industry leaders and government officials, I have found deep concern about the problem, and interest in the solutions, such as workplace wellness programs and educational programs in schools. Obesity is truly a problem without borders.

How to deal with the challenge? We should start by recognizing that too many people of all ages suffer from a basic imbalance in the energy quotient of our lives. As the World Health Organization puts it: “The fundamental cause of obesity and overweight is an energy imbalance between calories consumed on one hand, and calories expended on the other hand.” In other words: Too many calories in – not enough calories out through physical activity.

Just as the global problem has similar roots, so too does the solution. We need to reduce the calories we take in, and increase the calories we shed through physical activity. We need to achieve energy balance.

That includes nutritious eating – balanced meals, smaller portions, less eating on the run and more eating as a family.

But “calories in” is only half the equation. In analyzing the growth of obesity, the WHO cited “a trend towards decreased physical activity due to the increasingly sedentary nature of many forms of work, changing modes of transportation, and increasing urbanization.” If we are going to address childhood obesity, we have to encourage children to be more physically active. That is partly the responsibility of the schools – including more time for physical education. And it is partly the responsibility of parents and caregivers – including encouraging kids to spend more time outdoors.

“Fewer calories in, more calories out” is increasingly important to help ensure a healthy generation of young people – in the United States, and around the world.

Lisa Gable is executive director of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, a first-of-its kind coalition aimed at addressing the challenge of obesity – especially childhood obesity. She held rank of Ambassador while serving as US Commissioner General of Section of the United States Exhibition to the 2005 World Exposition, Aichi, Japan

About
Lisa Gable
:
Lisa Gable is a Diplomatic Courier Advisory Board member and WSJ and USA Today best-selling author of "Turnaround: How to Change Course When Things Are Going South" (IdeaPress Publishing, October 5, 2021).
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.

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www.diplomaticourier.com

Childhood Obesity: A Challenge Without Borders

February 27, 2011

The challenges faced by mothers are not limited by geography. Childhood obesity, for example, is a major problem for Americans—and a growing problem in many other countries. It is a problem that demands a wide range of solutions, and we can all benefit by sharing them.

The World Health Organization projects that in five years about 1.6 billion adults around the world will be overweight, and about 400 million will be obese. The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation was founded to help address this challenge. Our goal is to help reduce obesity in the United State—especially childhood obesity—by 2015. On a recent speaking tour in Australia and New Zealand, for example, I found in conversations with corporate and community leaders, and parents, that the childhood obesity challenge is approaching U.S. levels. In the United States, about 1 in 3 kids are obese or considered “at risk.” But other industrialized countries are not far behind. In Australia, the federal government’s Preventative Health Task Force (released in 2009) found that about 1 in 4 children are overweight or obese. In nearby New Zealand, the 2007 Health Survey found that about 30 percent of children were.

Recent studies in Canada, the United Kingdom, and many other countries show the same thing: More and more people are obese, and more and more children are following in their footsteps. In my meetings with NGOs, industry leaders and government officials, I have found deep concern about the problem, and interest in the solutions, such as workplace wellness programs and educational programs in schools. Obesity is truly a problem without borders.

How to deal with the challenge? We should start by recognizing that too many people of all ages suffer from a basic imbalance in the energy quotient of our lives. As the World Health Organization puts it: “The fundamental cause of obesity and overweight is an energy imbalance between calories consumed on one hand, and calories expended on the other hand.” In other words: Too many calories in – not enough calories out through physical activity.

Just as the global problem has similar roots, so too does the solution. We need to reduce the calories we take in, and increase the calories we shed through physical activity. We need to achieve energy balance.

That includes nutritious eating – balanced meals, smaller portions, less eating on the run and more eating as a family.

But “calories in” is only half the equation. In analyzing the growth of obesity, the WHO cited “a trend towards decreased physical activity due to the increasingly sedentary nature of many forms of work, changing modes of transportation, and increasing urbanization.” If we are going to address childhood obesity, we have to encourage children to be more physically active. That is partly the responsibility of the schools – including more time for physical education. And it is partly the responsibility of parents and caregivers – including encouraging kids to spend more time outdoors.

“Fewer calories in, more calories out” is increasingly important to help ensure a healthy generation of young people – in the United States, and around the world.

Lisa Gable is executive director of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, a first-of-its kind coalition aimed at addressing the challenge of obesity – especially childhood obesity. She held rank of Ambassador while serving as US Commissioner General of Section of the United States Exhibition to the 2005 World Exposition, Aichi, Japan

About
Lisa Gable
:
Lisa Gable is a Diplomatic Courier Advisory Board member and WSJ and USA Today best-selling author of "Turnaround: How to Change Course When Things Are Going South" (IdeaPress Publishing, October 5, 2021).
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.