Advancing health through science, education and medicine

ACSM In The News

ACSM is fortunate to be the go-to source on sports medicine and exercise science for several national and international media outlets. You can find some of our most recent coverage below, or you can view archived articles.  

Childhood Obesity Epidemic Requires Multiple Levels of Intervention

by User Not Found | Aug 01, 2011
Experts outlines effective approaches to address this public health concern

INDIANAPOLIS – Childhood obesity continues to emerge as a significant health concern in the United States.  Experts in interventions and public health strategies met today, during the 55th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) to discuss the issue. 

A symposium, chaired by Bryan K. Smith, Ph.D., addressed alternatives and effective approaches to childhood obesity, how to improve the effectiveness of preventative interventions, and the application of effective strategies to a public health approach.

“It’s important to step back and take a look at what we are doing right now to tackle childhood obesity,” said Smith. “Multiple things are being done, but to-date, not many of the interventions have actually shown progress in reducing childhood obesity.”

Smith noted that while numerous programs show short-term weight loss or increased physical activity among children, little work is being done to look at the long-range impact of the programs in terms of their effectiveness in actually reducing obesity rates.

“The most promising interventions seem to be those that are multidisciplinary,” he said. Smith explained that these multidisciplinary interventions promote increases in physical activity and encourage healthy eating choices. They also attempt to minimize sedentary behaviors such as television watching and computer time - and they discourage the consumption of soda and unhealthy snacks.

“Although this type of multidisciplinary approach shows promise, replication of previous results and further testing is warranted,” Smith said.

Smith also notes that the quality of available programs needs to continue to improve, and the number of children reached with interventions needs to increase considerably. “Schools seem to be an ideal location to offer interventions. Almost all children attend school, so you can reach a large numbers. Schools provide structured environments, and the infrastructure to offer interventions is available.”

However, Smith says certain barriers exist within school settings. These include time allocated to interventions, funding, and practical issues, such as transportation. These barriers were exemplified in one particular program Smith profiled, which showed promising results, but included transporting children home following the program, which may be too large of a burden for many school districts.

Another major focus of the symposium related to the importance of a public health approach to address childhood obesity.

“Addressing the childhood obesity epidemic will require large-scale public health interventions that are based on social environmental changes that increase children's physical activity,”, said Russell R. Pate, Ph.D., FACSM, a member of the symposium panel, Available science suggests that such interventions can be implemented in and through schools, and we must learn how they can be implemented in community, home, and healthcare settings."

-30-

The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world.  More than 20,000 international, national, and regional members are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.

The conclusions outlined in this news release are those of the researchers only, and should not be construed as an official statement of the American College of Sports Medicine.

Featured Publication

 Learn how to effectively lead group exercise with this ACSM resource. You’ll learn skills that can easily be adapted to different environments, including gyms, studios, recreational facilities, and clubs... 
 » Read More