“Today’s generation is the first generation in decades to have a lower life expectancy than that of their parents” (www.cbsnews.com). The childhood obesity epidemic in America has been discussed in the media and among the medical communities for years. Finally the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is finally doing something about it.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said Wednesday it would designate $500 million over the next five years to help combat the “epidemic” of obesity in American children. This will be the largest private donation to be pledged for this widespread heath threat.
“If we don’t turn this epidemic around and halt the rise in childhood obesity, we’re going to have the first generation of kids who actually are sicker and die younger than their parents,” stated Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJ Foundation) on Wednesday (www.cbsnews.com).
Childhood obesity is compromising the health of one-third of American youth. About 25 million children aged 17 and younger are classified as obese or overweight. This obesity problem is costing approximately $14 billion each year in medical expenses, according to the RWJ Foundation (www.msnbc.com).
The foundation hopes that their donation will help reverse this deadly obesity trend in America. Programs such as nutritional education and better access to healthy foods will be stressed. Increased physical activity will also be encouraged both in school and community settings.
“We know that we are going to need to use this to help families have safer places for kids to play and get exercise, and get back to being active,” Lavizzo-Mourey said. “What we hope to do with this money is pull people from all across the country, galvanize them, to work together to reverse this epidemic” (www.cbsnews.com).
Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Attorney General called the foundation’s pledge “tremendous.” Satcher continued to say, “investment highlights just how critical this problem has become and is a call to all the nation that past efforts have been too small, too slow and too fragmented,” in a statement provided by the foundation (www.cbsnews.com).
This growing obesity trend in America is a serious threat to today’s youth, as well as to adults. With adequate research and programs, this is a reversible condition. This donation by the Robert Wood Johnson foundation is a major step in the right direction.