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American College of Physicians Pledges Support for the Obama Administration's Initiative to Reduce Childhood Obesity

February 8, 2010

The American College of Physicians (ACP) is proud to join President Obama, the First Lady, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in launching a new initiative to reduce rates of overweight and obesity among our nation’s children.

ACP represents 129,000 internal medicine physicians and medical student members. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection and treatment of illnesses in adolescents and adults. According to the Center on an Aging Society at Georgetown University[PDF] adolescents are at particular risk for obesity:

“Obese children ages 12 to 17 are even more likely to be obese in adulthood. Between 70 and 80 percent of obese adolescents remain obese in adulthood.”

“Preventing obesity in childhood may eliminate many of the adverse health and economic consequences associated with obesity later in life. In addition to decreasing quality of life, obesity can cause premature death.”

Many of the adult chronic diseases linked to childhood and adolescent obesity later are treated by internist and internist subspecialists.

ACP will support the initiative by disseminating health messages and associated materials about obesity to our internal medicine members and their patients through the following mechanisms:

  • Information about obesity posted on ACP’s web site for patients and families. Tools include an online BMI calculator and information about other overweight and obesity-related health complications.
  • Scholarly research articles, commentary, and related patient education materials related to obesity published in the ACP’s flagship journal, Annals of Internal Medicine such as:
    • McTigue KM et. al. The natural history of the development of obesity in a cohort of young U.S. adults between 1981 and 1998. Ann Intern Med, 2002 136:857-864.
    • In the Clinic: Obesity. Ann Intern Med. 2008. 149 : ITC4-1-16.
  • Information about the campaign and related obesity materials distributed through ACP policymaking bodies, including committees and councils.
  • Articles included in ACP publications, including the e-newsletter ACP Internist Weekly, to raise awareness about the ACP’s support of the initiative and the availability of related materials for patients and families.

ACP also will continue to advocate for public policies and public health interventions to reduce childhood and adult obesity. The College is a member of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Diseases, which advocates for policies to “Promote healthy lifestyles and disease prevention and management in every community.” ACP also advocates for funding of evidence-based prevention and wellness programs shown to be effective in reducing childhood and adult obesity.

The American College of Physicians applauds President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and HHS Secretary Sebelius for their extraordinary leadership in tackling the crisis of childhood obesity. We stand ready to assist them in making this initiative a success.

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