Obesity is now recognized as one of the biggest risks to children. The New York Times Reports that
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has dedicated over $500 Million over the next five years to reverse the increase in childhood obesity. It is one of the largest public health initiatives ever tried by a private philanthropy.
The foundation estimates that roughly 25 million children 17 and under are obese or overweight, nearly a third of the 74 million in that age group, according to Census Bureau data and a 2006 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers attribute the rise in obesity with children’s more sedentary lifestyles, as well as the lack of available play space and difficulty in obtaining fresh produce for poorer families.
The foundation, who also made significant contributions towards the non-smoking movement, hopes to change school menus, increase awareness of the risk factors of obesity to parents and encourage markets to return to poorer neighborhoods.