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Childhood Obesity

The Nation's Challenge

Since 1980, obesity in the United States has doubled among children ages 2-4, and nearly tripled among children and adolescents ages 6-19. To reverse this trend, our Obesity Institute is developing innovative solutions that inform efforts throughout the nation and around the world.

We advance holistic prevention and treatment strategies to reduce obesity. The Institute’s Improving Diet, Energy and Activity for Life (IDEAL) Clinic, Weight-Loss Surgery Program, and community-level Prevention and Wellness interventions empower children, families, and communities to achieve healthier lifestyles for a lifetime.

Battling Childhood Obesity with Bariatric Surgery

The United States has a childhood obesity problem. In the past 30 years, obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Obese youth are more likely to become obese adults and are at risk for long- term health effects.

Read how Children's National's team fights childhood obesity.

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Advocates for a Healthier Future

Advocacy and community partnerships are a vital part
of the solution to the obesity epidemic.

Advocates for a Healthier Future

Our specialists have voiced their support for local and national policies to garner attention and investment in obesity prevention and treatment. We are proactive partners in our own Washington, DC, community, where the percentage of overweight or obese adolescents has improved, but remains higher than the national average.

Obesity Institute leadership has testified before the Council of the District of Columbia on the merits of a community-based strategy—a complement to our clinical care. The Institute played a vital role in the passage of the landmark DC Healthy Schools Act in 2010 legislation that improves access to healthy foods, wellness programs, and activities for children in the nation’s capital.

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Solutions for the Future

Institute experts also are leading research to discover surgical alternatives for morbidly obese adolescents to understand the influence of genetics, and identify lifestyle factors that enable patients to manage their weight and reduce co-morbidities.

Evan P. Nadler’s, MD, research initially demonstrated health and weight-loss improvement following laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAP-BAND®) surgery and his findings informed national practice. He is a recognized expert in weight loss surgery and one of the few surgeons nationwide who performs bariatric surgery for adolescents, including publishing the first series of adolescents who underwent laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy.


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