Monday, October 31, 2011

Opinion: Solution to Childhood Obesity Must Include Those with Special Needs

Few public health issues have received more attention in recent years than childhood obesity. Yet the population perhaps most affected by this epidemic has been left out of the national conversation completely: children with special needs and disabilities. These children are 38% more likely than others to be obese and many face behavioral, medication and mobility challenges that defy standard solutions. The statistics are devastating: among some groups, the obesity rate is as high as 86%. Even among Special Olympics athletes, more than one-third are obese. Clearly, we cannot as a nation solve this huge health challenge without including the millions of American families caring for a child with special needs or a disability. This week, with the release of "Finding Balance: Obesity and Children with Special Needs", is closing the gap.

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