2005-11-03 / Opinions

Book Review

Underage and Overweight America
By FRANCES M. BERG, M.S., L.N.

The New York Times says that this groundbreaking book

“offers much valuable advice on how parents and communities can address the problem of childhood obesity. What really comes across is that understanding obesity is not easy.”

Childhood obesity has reached crisis proportions. Over the past two decades, the number of overweight adolescents has tripled. This skyrocketing youth obesity figure is associated with increase in high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes, as well as higher obesity figures in the adult population.

With the rate of obesity and related problems among children and teens skyrocketing, the health of an entire generation is at risk

The first step in solving this health crisis is understanding it. In Underage & Overweight: America’s Childhood Obesity Crisis – What Every Family Needs to Know, the first shattering look at this looming disaster, childhood obesity expert Frances Berg clearly lays out the reasons for the current crisis.

Underage & Overweight gives indepth attention to the causes of childhood obesity, its consequences, and its cures. It examines the issue from all sides – the classroom, the playground, the home entertainment center, the fast food counter, and the family dining table.

It gives families, educators, health care workers, and policy makers the information they need to lead America’s children to healthier and happier lives.

Underage & Overweight doesn’t just explore the problem. It gives realistic guidance for conquering the problem of childhood obesity. Rather than prescribing aerobics and limiting portions, it offers a seven-point plan for raising healthy children that focuses on changing the way families think about food and physical activity.

The tips it gives for guiding children to healthier lives are vital reading not only for parents and other caretakers, but also for teachers, school administrators, doctors, nurses, and health care workers – anyone concerned about our children and their future.

A review of this book in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution states: “Berg advises parents, teachers, and other caregivers concerned about children’s weight problems to forget about restrictive diets or rigid routines. Instead, they should help their children develop healthy, confident, diet-free lifestyles in which sound habits for eating and activity come naturally.”

The Public Health Association Newsletter says, “This plan is a breath of fresh air, respectful to children, practical for families, and beneficial to communities as a whole. . . . The chapter ‘Helping the Overweight Child’ is priceless, as it guides parents to honor their already overweight child with loving methods of interaction, communication, and active play. . . . If we all read this book, we could begin to make headway on this vital issue.”

Frances M. Berg is an internationally known authority on weight and eating who has reported obesity research for over two decades to health professionals and the public. She founded Healthy Weight Journal and has served as its publisher and editor for over 15 years. She is a licensed nutritionist, family wellness specialist, and adjunct professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine.

(Information for this review is supplied by Hatherleigh Press, publisher of the book.)

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