“What you always do before you make a decision is consult. The best public policy is made when you are listening to people who are going to be impacted. Then, once a policy is determined, you call on them to help you sell it.”
— Elizabeth Dole

"We can all agree that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, all children should have the basic nutrition they need to learn and grow and to pursue their dreams, because, in the end, nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our children. These are the basic values that we all share, regardless of race, party, religion. This is what we share. These are the values that this bill embodies." Michelle Obama (Signing of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act), 13 December 2010

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Tackling a Rise in Childhood Obesity in the United States:
How to take meaningful action to promote healthy habits and lifestyles amid an increasing public health crisis

Date of Event: Thursday, June 27th 2024

Time of Event: 9:30 AM — 1:00 PM PST

Place of Event: Webinar

Key Speakers

Dr. Sherri A. Young, Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health
Maithili Jha, Director, Health Equity Planning and Performance at American Medical Association
Dr. Norman Temple, Professor Emeritus, Athabasca University
Soniya Perl, Deputy Director of Food Services, Los Angeles Unified School District
Ivy Marx, Senior Nutrition Specialist for Food Services, Los Angeles Unified School District
Dr. Erin R. Hager, Associate Professor Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health


The State of Childhood Obesity says that “roughly one in six youth have obesity, according to the newest data available. The data, from the National Survey of Children’s Health, show that in 2021-2022, 17% of youth ages 10 to 17 had obesity.” (State of Childhood Obesity) According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “childhood obesity is a serious problem, in the United States, putting children and adolescents at risk for poor health. Obesity prevalence among children and adolescents is still too high.” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Taking a closer look at the statistics, for young populations aged between 2 to 19 years old during the timeframe of 2017 to 2020, “the prevalence of obesity was 19.7% and affected about 14.7 million children and adolescents. Obesity prevalence was 12.7% among 2 to 5 year old’s, 20.7% among 6 to 11 year old’s, and 22.2% among 12 to 19 year old’s.” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) In addition to these general population statistics, the CDC also highlights that there are certain ethnic groups that are more prevalent to experiencing obesity. Experiencing higher levels of obesity, Hispanic children are more prevalent, seeing a 26.2% rate, followed by non-Hispanic Black children at 24.8%. Obesity is a condition that leads to other serious health risks, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and even correlates to breathing problems such asthma, sleep apnea, and joint problems. (CDC) Furthermore, when analyzing the effects and socioeconomic status, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) show that as socioeconomic status increases, obesity levels have shown to be lower, as opposed to children and adolescents that belonged to lower-income households. (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report)

In the context of the United States, there are several states that stand out as having higher obesity levels than the rest of the nation. “Seven states had youth obesity rates significantly higher than the national rate (17.0%): West Virginia (24.8%), Kentucky (24.0%), New Mexico, (23.9%), Mississippi (23.1%), Louisiana (21.8%), Texas (21.5%), and Tennessee (20.9%).” (State of Childhood Obesity) The state with the lowest rate of obesity levels is Oregon, with an average of 14.6%. What factors are important to consider when analyzing the factors that lead to childhood obesity? As the CDC continues to highlight, “obesity is complex. Many factors can contribute to excess weight gain including behavior, genetics, and taking certain medications. But, societal and community factors also matter: child care and school environments, neighborhood design, access to healthy and affordable foods and bevergaes, and access to safe and convenient places for physical activity affect our ability to make healthy choices.” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) highlights why this is such an important issue, including the fact that “children with weight issues are more likely to miss school and repeat a grade than children who are at a healthy weight. And, children with obesity have three times more healthcare expenditures than children at healthy weights, costing an estimated $14 billion a year.” (Partnership for a Healthier America PHA)

In response, California released the California Childhood Obesity Prevention Act, known as legislation number SB-677. This existing law “prohibits the sale of certain beverages at elementary schools regardless of the time of day and restricts the sale of certain food items on those campuses during specified times.” (Public Health Advocates) Additionally, in 2021 Congress passed the S. 2741 Reducing Obesity in Youth Act of 2021, which seeks to “amend the Public Health Service Act to promote healthy eating and physical activity among children.” (Congress) The National Institute on Health (NIH) says that while legislation is beginning to address the rise in childhood obesity levels, there are still several gaps to take into consideration. Some of these gaps include the fact that most studies pertaining to obesity statistics are done in schools, leaving out those who might home schooled or do not attend any type of schooling at all. Additionally, the discussion of marketing ads and advertising junk food and sugary drinks that target young children are high, leading to more consumption. “Only a few studies that we have reviewed used social marketing to deliver messages on nutrition, physical activity and health. This approach might be integrated with other intervention components to create an atmosphere favorable to healthy and active lifestyles and related behavioral changes.” (National Institute of Health) The discussion of educating on the effects of unhealthy eating can be brought in here, but apart from having these talks in school, many people argue that this conversation must start at home with families.

This symposium seeks to address the rise in childhood obesity throughout the years and the factors that continue to cause this issue. Additionally, this event seeks to highlight efforts that current legislations are taking to lower obesity levels and prevent this from occurring in the future, and why schools are the place to start this discussion.


  • Examine current policies in place pertaining to childhood obesity across the nation and identify potential strategies to better tackle the issue.
  • Explore the reforms included in the S. 2741 Youth Act and identify opportunities for further legislative reform.
  • Formulate innovative strategies to address socioeconomic disparities in childhood obesity rates, including poverty, inequality, and current statistics and rates.
  • Learn about how new technologies are potentially affecting efforts to mitigate the issue of childhood obesity in society.
  • Discuss the long-term economic implications associated with childhood obesity, including both the cost of the issue and cost of tackling obesity.
  • Analyze how bans on certain advertisements and marketing companies could tackle behavioral changes among younger populations.

Who Should Attend?

  • Child Obesity Practitioners
  • Health Workers
  • Public Health Practitioners
  • Family Health Teams and Outreach Workers
  • Family Nurses and Practitioners
  • General Practitioners
  • Heads of Children’s Services and Teams
  • Pre-School, Elementary and High School Teachers and Staff
  • Children’s Services
  • Youth Services
  • Extra Curricular Services
  • Food and Drinks Industry Professionals
  • Health Service Professionals
  • Parent Participation Teams
  • Parental Engagement Teams
  • Paediatricians
  • Heads of Early Years
  • Social Workers and Social Services Officers
  • Social Exclusion Teams
  • Family Planning Clinics
  • Integrated Disabled Services
  • Local Education Authorities
  • Voluntary and Community Organizations
  • Third Sector Practitioners and NGO’s
  • Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Practitioners
  • Academics
  • Local Authority Officers
  • Central Government Departments and Agencies

Sponsorship and Exhibition Opportunities

If you’re interested in promoting your company, products and/or services at our events, please click here to enter your details and we will contact you directly. Alternatively, please call
+1 (310) 385 8750 for more information.

How to Book

+1 (310) 385 8750