"America's Children in Peril: Solving the obesity and mental health epidemics" was an expert forum hosted by Arizona State University at the National Press Club Jan. 20, 2011.
The discussion built on the idea that the foundation for a healthy adulthood is a healthy childhood. Despite our prosperity, growing numbers of American children are plagued with two chronic and intractable health challenges: obesity and compromised mental health. Nearly one third of children in the U.S. are overweight and more than half of this group is obese. In addition to the increased medical problems associated with being overweight, these children and adolescents suffer from a higher prevalence of psychological problems resulting in poor academic performance, low self-esteem, depressive disorders, and a greater number of suicide attempts. Moreover, approximately 15 million children and adolescents in the U.S. have a mental health problem that impairs their functioning at home or at school, but less than 25% receive treatment.
Innovative strategies including coordinated efforts among healthcare providers, schools, academic and research institutions, federal agencies, funders and policy makers are urgently needed to reverse these alarming trends in child and adolescent health. Through this forum, a panel of experts in the field, policy-makers, and national leaders discussed these epidemics and offered cutting edge solutions to ameliorate them.
Special remarks by:
Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., FACS
17th Surgeon General of the United States (2002-2006)
Distinguished Professor, University of Arizona
Kyu Rhee, MD, MPH, FAAP, FACP,
Chief Public Health Officer, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Marie Morilus-Black, LCSW-R ,
Director, Children and Youth Services, D.C. Department of Mental Health
Peter S. Jensen, MD,
President, REACH Institute & professor of psychiatry, Mayo Clinic
Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, RN, PNP, PMHNP, FNAP, FAAN,
Dean, ASU College of Nursing & Health Innovation
Russell R. Pate, PhD, FACSM ,
Director, Children’s Physical Activity Research Group and Professor, University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health
Founding Editor, New Health Dialogue blog, New America Foundation
Youth Advisor, Alliance for a Healthier Generation