Original Article

Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 209-216

First online:

What is Needed to Reverse the Trends in Childhood Obesity? A Call to Action

  • Paul A. EstabrooksAffiliated withDepartment of Human Nutrition, Foods, & Exercise; Center for Translational Obesity Research, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State UniversityVT Riverside, 1 Riverside Circle SW Email author 
  • , Edwin B. FisherAffiliated withDepartment of Health Behavior & Health Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health
  • , Laura L. HaymanAffiliated withCollege of Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts-Boston

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To address the complexity of issues surrounding childhood obesity, the Society of Behavioral Medicine identified childhood obesity as a special focus of its 2007 Annual Meeting.


The purpose of this paper was to provide a brief summary of the content of these sessions, promising practices that were presented, and recommendations for behavioral medicine research and practice professionals to facilitate reversing the current trends in childhood obesity.

Methods and Results

A social-ecological perspective was used to discuss views on biological and genetic perspectives, the need for policy and environmental approaches, and the need to expand the types of research and practice being conducted.


Recommendations included the need to (1) conduct a broader examination of potential policy, program, and practice strategies across social ecological levels, (2) use team approaches to science that include multiple disciplines and perspectives, (3) expand the methods and metrics used to demonstrate the value of childhood obesity treatment or prevention interventions, (4) use integrated research and practice partnerships, and (5) explicitly assess the potential of intervention strategies to reduce health disparities.


Childhood obesity Social-ecological perspective Treatment or prevention interventions