Childhood obesity is due to many factors, with genetic, cultural, environmental and lifestyle factors contributing to the problem. In addition to promoting healthy lifestyle education to modify children's behaviors, it is also essential to establish an environment that persistently supports healthy diets and physical activities. For example, any school-based intervention program for childhood obesity will be more effective and sustainable if parents are involved. A safer environment will need to be created to encourage more physical activities. Supermarkets that provide healthy food should be easily accessible by all communities. In other words, the surrounding environments collectively reinforce ways of living to promote or inhibit energy balance. Multidisciplinary and multi-level interventions related to, for example, urban planning, media restriction, food production and delivery, food taxation, school lunch and physical education programs, are necessary to combat childhood obesity.
Frank L. Magee Distinguished Professor in economics