Starting in the 1980s, public health experts began sounding the alarm: Americans were getting way too heavy. And of special concern: children, and the particular impact of obesity on them: increased risk for both short and long term ailments such as heart disease, type two diabetes, and a host of social and psychological problems. Today, it’s been 30 years, and childhood obesity rates have doubled since those first warnings, with doctors saying this problem early in life also closely predicts whether a child will have a healthy weight into adulthood, and a five times greater chance of being too heavy when they grow up. But now, after more and more attention to this alarming trend, and multi-pronged efforts at reducing it, new numbers this year show that America’s youngest children may be finally turning a corner.
- Patricia Anderson – professor of economics at Dartmouth who has been studying childhood obesity for almost ten years.
- Travis Harker - family doctor at the Concord Family Health Center. His medical training focused on improving the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of obesity.
- Terry Johnson – director of HEAL New Hampshire, an organization that works to foster healthy eating and living statewide, through partnerships with state agencies, philanthropic organizations and community groups.