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American Medical Association Endorses Yearly Obesity Education for all Public School Children

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The American Medical Association has agreed to support legislation that would require all public school children to receive instruction on obesity at school.

The yearly classes would be mandatory for children in grades 1 through 12, and would provide education on the causes, prevention, and consequences of obesity.

The policy was adopted on the last day of the AMA's annual meeting to discuss guidelines and policy for doctors in the U.S. Some other measures covered at the meeting included encouraging doctors to volunteer their time to assist with obesity education in the schools, and supporting the idea of using tax revenue from sugary soda drinks to help cover the cost of obesity instruction.

Shocking Statistics

According to the AMA, more than 300 million people worldwide suffer from obesity. In the U.S. alone, more than one-third of adults and one in five children are obese. This translates into more than 12 million children who are at risk for severe health complications related to excess weight and obesity. Diabetes, heart disease, and cancer are just a few of the conditions linked to obesity.

Doctors attending the annual AMA meeting shared their own personal stories of treating patients struggling to control their weight. Delegates heard from physicians who were providing care for infants as young as one year of age who already weighed 40 pounds.

Focus on Obesity Prevention

The provision of nutrition instruction and obesity education in the public schools is an important first step in the fight against excess weight. A weight loss of just 5 percent can have a positive impact on a person's health, including lowering the risk of developing complications associated with obesity. Compulsory obesity education for school children is one way to provide the knowledge and tools for young people to choose a nutritious diet and maintain a healthy weight.

Source: The Associated Press