Overweight and obesity, and their negative sequelae have become the focus of policy makers, business leaders, health care systems, and the general public in the United States and globally. Currently, one in three children and adolescents in the United States is either overweight or obese. Children who are overweight or obese tend to remain as such into adulthood, increasing their risk of developing associated chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and other cardio-metabolic problems. Further, more research is suggesting an important link between physical and mental health, with similar risk factors between obesity and chronic disease (e.g., unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, poor sleep) and many mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
However, despite the overwhelming recognition of obesity as a critical economic and public health issue, and the top child health concern of parents, researchers, policy makers, and public health and health care practitioners continue to search for the most effective and sustainable interventions to address the issue. A variety of sectors have a stake in solving the obesity epidemic. As such, solutions will require engagement from a wide range of actors, such as public health, health care, business and industry, education, agriculture and the food industry, transportation and urban planning, philanthropy, the nonprofit sector, and academia, as embodied by the Roundtable on Obesity Solutions of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.