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Childhood Obesity: The Role of Health Policy Report to the Second National Childhood Obesity Congress, Miami, Florida, 2008

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In the last five years, childhood obesity has emerged as a leading public health threat, rivaling smoking in its potential long-term impact on the American population and its toll on childhood, adolescent and adult morbidity and mortality. This report to the Second National Childhood Obesity Congress in Miami, Fla., 2008, summarizes key findings of a two-year effort of the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ), supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. NICHQ conducted this two-year effort in three phases: pre-Summit and Congress (discovery and design), Summit and Congress, and post-Summit and Congress (dissemination and development of an ongoing learning network within NICHQ) to garner new learning and develop new collaborations to address the issues of childhood obesity.

Key Findings:

* Widespread innovation is emerging among front-line caregivers who often partner with communities and/or health plans, but their success and/or spread is still limited.
* Leading health care stakeholder organizations are variable in the extent to which they have identified childhood obesity as a priority.
* State governments are leading the way in systematic interventions and health-related policies to address childhood obesity.
* Health care approaches are only beginning to address the disproportionate toll of childhood obesity on low-socioeconomic families, including low income and minority families and communities.