Should the government have a significant role (or any, really) in reducing the epidemic of childhood obesity?

57% of respondents to a Pew Research study say yes, with the caveat that it is not a major policy priority for the President or Congress (only 19% said obesity was a top priority for the country; nearly the same number said it should not be a priority at all).

As Charles Blow points out in a recent op-ed for the NY Times, this is a major shift from just 6 years ago, when the Harvard School of Public Health asked a similar question and received almost the opposite results (fewer people thought it was a priority).

Look at weight by state here.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the Pew research shows significant partisan and ideological differences in the opinion of what the government’s role should be in  combating obesity:

  • about 70% of Democrats vs. only 60% of independents and 41% of Republicans say that role should be “significant”
  • 80% of self-identified liberals agree government should play a major role vs. just 37% of self-described conservatives
  • Hispanics and African Americans are far more likely to agree the role should be major (85% and 74%, respectively) than whites (just 49%)
  • 69% of those younger than thirty say government should play a major role vs. just 45% of those > 65.

Watch celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s TED talk about combating childhood obesity.

Get help getting good food on the table on a weeknight

Other resources: learn about minimally invasive weight loss surgery procedures,   Allergan’s LAP-BAND and gastric plication.