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Childhood obesity & eating disorders: Two problems facing kids

Childhood obesity has been among the top health problems facing kids in the U.S. for the past several years, sparking many intervention efforts. But on the other end of the spectrum, health experts have also noted an increase in eating disorders, leading some to question if anti-obesity efforts might be going too far.

In a 2012 NPCH Report, we asked parents about intervention programs in their children’s schools aimed at preventing childhood obesity. Overall, 82% of parents reported at least one obesity intervention in their children’s schools and 7% said their children have been made to feel bad at school about what or how much they were eating. Read the full report: School obesity programs may promote worrisome eating behaviors and physical activity in kids.

We also asked parents about behaviors their children might be exhibiting that could be associated with the development of an eating disorder. Parents that reported school incentives for children to increase their physical activity were more likely to say their children have “too much physical activity”. Otherwise, we found no association between school-based obesity prevention programs and any other worrisome eating behaviors or physical activity in children.

Infographic: Parent report of worrisome behaviors in children age 6-14
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