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Consider a junk-food tax. The report says there's limited evidence about the impact of such a tax, but Sanchez notes that taxes have helped discourage another unhealthy habit, tobacco.
Require that publicly run after-school and child-care programs limit video game and TV time, and offer healthy foods and beverages.
Build and maintain sidewalks, bike paths, playgrounds and parks to allow safe and comfortable outdoor activity. Use community policing to improve security in high-crime areas so that families will get outdoors, and work with education departments to create programs that allow children to walk or bike to school safely.
In a suburb of Boston, a "Shape Up Somerville" program slowed weight gain among first- to third-graders, starting with better school food and a push for safe walking and biking paths to schools. And rural Shelby, Mont., built a fitness center and persuaded major employers to subsidize their workers' memberships, in addition to walking trails.
Encourage breast-feeding, which prevents obesity later in childhood. In Shelby, the county's public health nurse calls each new mother to encourage breast-feeding.
The Institute of Medicine is part of the National Academies, an independent organization chartered by Congress to advise the government on scientific matters.
On the Net:
Institute of Medicine: http://www.iom.edu/
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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