WEDNESDAY, Dec. 20, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Being overweight or obese is the most important health issue facing children in the United States, a new survey finds.
The nationwide telephone survey of 800 adults, conducted in September, found 27 percent of respondents saying obesity was the top health issue for children, followed by lack of health care/insurance (16 percent) and nutrition/unhealthy diet (9 percent).
Released Dec. 13 by Research!America and The Endocrine Society, the poll also found that 52 percent of respondents believe obesity is a public health issue that society should help solve, while 46 percent feel it's a private issue that people should take care of on their own.
The survey showed that responsibility for helping to address the obesity issue in the United States lies to some or a great extent with parents (98 percent), individuals (96 percent), schools (87 percent), health care providers (84 percent), the food industry (81 percent), and government (67 percent).
- 81 percent of respondents said it's important for the U.S. government to invest in obesity research, and 84 percent said it's important to invest in public health and prevention programs to lower obesity rates in the country.
- 68 percent said they believed that elementary school children were required to take daily physical education classes. However, fewer than 25 percent of U.S. elementary schools provide daily physical education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
- 67 percent said they'd be willing to pay $1 more per week in taxes if they were certain the money would be used to fund research to improve health.
"Clearly, Americans recognize the obesity epidemic facing this country and our children," Dr. Leonard Wartofsky, president of The Endocrine Society, said in a prepared statement.
"However, the poll shows that the public thinks we should address obesity as a public health issue to bolster the actions of individuals and families. Health care professionals and researchers need to help convey the importance of a stronger public health response to this epidemic," Wartofsky said.
About 66 percent of American adults (ages 20-74) and 17 percent of children (ages 2-19) are overweight or obese, according to the National Center for Health Statistics at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Nemours Foundation has more about overweight and obesity in children.