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Nutrición Hospitalaria

On-line version ISSN 1699-5198Print version ISSN 0212-1611


ARANCETA BARTRINA, Javier. Public health and the prevention of obesity: failure or success?. Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2013, vol.28, suppl.5, pp.128-137. ISSN 1699-5198.

In recent decades, obesity has become a major public health problem in developed societies and economies in transition. Rapid social changes that have occurred since the mid 20th century prompted major changes in eating habits and lifestyles, with the gradual abandonment of traditional dietary patterns and culinary techniques, significant decrease in physical activity and increased sedentary time, giving as result in an imbalance in the energy balance. Obesity is a risk factor for many chronic diseases. There is evidence that childhood obesity influences adult health condition. Additionally, obesity in children affects their physical, emotional and social wellbeing. According to some estimates the cost of obesity may represent up to 12% of health cost in some countries. Many actions have been developed since around the year 2000 WHO alerted about the problem. The analysis of the factors involved in the origin of the problem have led to recognize the importance of creating supportive environments for healthier food choices and physical activity to be the easiest and accessible options in common everyday environments, such as schools, workplace or community environment. Evidence is long available that the most effective interventions to prevent childhood obesity should consider multiple strategies and last longer. Today it is also recognized the importance of implementing policies that encourage supportive friendly environments for physical activity and help decisions to opt for healthy eating habits.

Keywords : Obesity; Children; Prevention; Food habits; Physical activity; Policy.

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