The top nutritional contributors to obesity

Barbara J. Moore, PhD and President of Shape Up America! shares advice for parents on what the major factors and causes are behind childhood obesity
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The top nutritional contributors to obesity

I don't want to oversimplify things, obesity is the result of many complex causes but I'm going to give you a few to think about. The first is success of the food industry in creating irresistibly tasty snacks and other kinds of foods like cereals that are high in fat, high sugar, high in salt and of course high in calories. And they're formulated carefully so that you have one and you want another and that is the secret of the food industries to be able to formulate foods that are so appealing especially to children. That they - it leads to mindless overeating in adults as well as kids. Another factor is the expense and the inconvenience of fruits and vegetables. There are lots of children who are growing up in areas where there are, believe it or not, no supermarkets and they can't access inexpensive, tasty, fresh fruits and vegetables that make terrific snacks. But children now don't identify them as snacks instead they want these other foods that I've just finished telling you about. And so that's the real problem. It's access to fruits and vegetables. Another factor that's very important is the drive for convenience which the result of what stressed out busy lives that parents are leading. Basically, they come home exhausted and they want to go out for dinner or order take out. And we know that those foods that are in restaurants and in take out are higher in fat, salt, sugar, calories than the same kinds of meals that would be prepared at home. So those are the reasons that I think are important to discuss at this point.

Barbara J. Moore, PhD and President of Shape Up America! shares advice for parents on what the major factors and causes are behind childhood obesity


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Barbara J. Moore, PhD

President, Shape Up America!

Barbara J. Moore, PhD is president and CEO of Shape Up America!, a nonprofit organization founded in 1994 by former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop. The mission of SUA is to raise awareness of obesity as a health issue through its award-winning website,  and other communication channels.  Considered a leading authority on obesity in the United States, Dr. Moore served on the Institute of Medicine Committee on Prevention of Obesity in Children in Youth, which produced the landmark 2005 report Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance. Moore received her PhD in nutritional science from Columbia University. Her postdoctoral training in nutrition and physiology was at the University of California at Davis. She held an academic position at Rutgers University and also served in industry as General Manager of Program Development at Weight Watchers International.  She held several federal government positions at the White House and the National Institutes of Health before joining Shape Up America! in 1995. She holds a BA from Skidmore College and an MS in nutrition from Columbia University’s Institute of Human Nutrition. 

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