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Childhood obesity is on the rise and has garnered more attention with the recent release of an Institute of Medicine report and the HBO documentary “The Weight of the Nation.” Current research stresses the need for action in counteracting growing obesity rates—including strategies specifically targeting pregnant women, infants and toddlers.

In the U.S., 10% of preschoolers are obese and another 10% are overweight. Obese preschoolers are likely to be obese throughout their childhood. Studies have found that the risk for childhood obesity begins during and even before pregnancy, as the mother’s weight can also affect the weight of her baby.

The article cites family, community and society as contributors to obesity and refers to it as a “complex problem.” Possible approaches to the growing problem include strategies targeting pregnancy onward, improved lifestyle and environmental changes and reexamined nutrition and transportation policies.

Read the full Medical News Today article.