From the Director

Feature Story

AHRQ's Director, Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. Some-times conditions that are the easiest to diagnose can be the hardest to cure. This paradox is especially true for obesity. For children, it is particularity critical to prevent or treat obesity early on to avoid related diseases like diabetes and heart disease later. 

In the United States, about one in three children are overweight and nearly one in five children in the United States are obese. Minority groups, such as African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans, and low-income groups are at higher risk of obesity. Since 2010, the First Lady's Let's Move! initiative has brought together Federal agencies, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that are trying to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation. (LetsMove.gov

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has many programs to help children and families, including the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and the National Institutes of Health's We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition®)program.

At AHRQ, we're committed to supporting research on obese and overweight adults and children. A few months ago, our AHRQ review, Childhood Obesity Prevention Programs: Comparative Effectiveness Review and Meta-Analysis, was posted on our Web site and was highlighted in the Journal of Pediatrics

Through our Effective Health Care Program, reviewers from the Johns Hopkins Evidence-based Practice Center analyzed studies that aimed to improve diet, physical activity, or both in many settings, including schools, homes, primary care clinics, child care settings, the community, and combinations of these settings in high-income countries. The review emphasized comprehensive interventions and the need for more research in a variety of settings and situations. Our cover story features the researchers who worked on this review and why they are so passionate about this issue. 

Two years ago, the president proclaimed September as National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, encouraging us all to try and prevent and reverse this trend. Next month, I'll be walking along the Potomac River with my nieces. What will you do?

Carolyn Clancy, M.D.

Page last reviewed August 2013
Internet Citation: From the Director: Feature Story. August 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/13aug/0813RA2.html