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Ask Tufts Experts April 2019 Issue

Q. Is there anything we can do to address rising obesity rates?

A. Judith C. Thalheimer, RD, LDN, managing editor of the Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter, answers: “Obesity and overweight are associated with a number of negative health outcomes. The most recent national survey data indicate that nearly 40 percent of American adults and 18.5 percent of children ages two to 19 are considered obese—an all-time high.

“The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s 2018 State of Obesity report looked at programs designed to curb or reduce weight gain and improve health and found some positive news: studies demonstrate that multi-sector collaborations and innovative policy approaches over sustained periods can achieve reduced rates of obesity. The authors concluded that federal, state, and local policymakers, healthcare systems, and the food and restaurant sectors all have a role to play.

“Individuals can make their voices heard in support of obesity-prevention policies and programs, and encourage continued innovation in approaches to making it easier for Americans of all ages to eat healthier and be physically active. Even simple acts (like supporting lower calorie restaurant options by ordering them) are important.”

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