Tiny and Mom

Is Childhood Obesity No Longer a Public Concern?

David Yates

David Yates

Public concern can be a potent force for action. Former First Lady Michelle Obama used her Let’s Move! campaign to rally concern about childhood obesity into action for better childhood nutrition.

Unfortunately, recent studies have made it clear that the number of children living with obesity is not declining. This seems to be true across all age groups of children. But even so, some organizations are promoting “signs of progress on childhood obesity.” Could it be that public concern about childhood obesity is declining?

Google Search Interest

In one respect “childhood obesity” is declining. That is the number of times that the term is searched on Google. Google Trends allows you to see how frequently a word, or phrase, is searched. Following a peak in April 2010 (Let’s Move!), the frequency of searching “childhood obesity” has declined steadily.

Google Search Interest Over Time in Childhood ObesityGoogle Trends also allows comparison across terms. Other nutrition related words – “GMO” or “probiotic” – are the ones that have been growing in public awareness. While public awareness will not produce solutions, it can be critical to gain the resources to develop new solutions.

For those involved in looking for solutions, it is important to continue communicating with the public that childhood obesity has not gone away. It has only gone away from our Google searches.

Today’s guest post comes from our friend David Yates, Visiting Scholar with the Children’s Healthy Weight Research Group at UNC-Chapel Hill. Previously, he was the President of Nestle Healthcare Nutrition, Inc.

Tiny and Mom, photograph © Brian / flickr

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March 2, 2018