New Future of Children Journal Addresses Childhood Obesity in America

Mar 13, 2006
Woodrow Wilson School





The Woodrow Wilson School and the Brookings Institution have announced the release of the newest volume of their jointly published journal, The Future of Children, on the subject of "Childhood Obesity" (volume 16, No. 1).

Edited by the School's Christina Paxson, Professor of Economics and Public Affairs and director of the Center for Health and Wellbeing; Elisabeth Donahue, a School Lecturer of Public and International Affairs; and C. Tracy Orleans and J.A. Grisso, both of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the volume contains ten articles written by the nation's leading scholars on childhood obesity and related policy. The researchers present evidence on the possible causes of childhood obesity, document the consequences and suggest interventions that could stem this epidemic.

The journal's release is in conjunction with a public briefing on childhood obesity held at the Brookings Institution on March 14.

Pediatricians, parents, and policymakers alike are concerned about high and rising rates of obesity among U.S. children and are now recognizing the need for action. Over the past three decades, the share of children who are overweight or obese has doubled, from 15 percent in the 1970s to nearly 30 percent today, while the share of children who are obese has tripled to from 5 to 15 percent.

Despite all the public attention and concern, policymakers are uncertain how best to combat childhood obesity. Researchers have identified many possible causes of the obesity epidemic, but the research base on how to prevent obesity is still limited, making it difficult to decide how best to proceed. With state and federal budgets already strained, it is important to develop programs and policies that are effective and can be implemented at reasonable cost.

The Future of Children is published twice per year and serves to inform policymakers, practitioners, advocates, and researchers who seek to promote effective policies and programs for children by providing timely, objective information based on the best available research. For more information please visit the Future of Children website.

The journal's editorial board includes Professor Paxson; Isabel Sawhill and Ron Haskins, co-directors of the Brookings Center on Children and Families; Princeton Sara McLanahan, director of the Woodrow Wilson School's Center for Research on Child Wellbeing, and Professor Cecilia Rouse, director of the School's Education Research Section.