Faith-based advocacy has been cited as a valuable tool in combating childhood obesity, but evidence is needed to support this assertion and to define how the link between advocacy and policy can contribute to promoting permanent lifestyle changes. This article is part of a special issue of the journal Childhood Obesity celebrating the second anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative. The issue includes a special Foreword by Mrs. Obama and is available free on the Childhood Obesity website at www.liebertpub.com/chi.
"Faith-Based Advocacy To End Childhood Obesity: Using Evidence-Based Information," an article by Michael Minor, AB, MBA, MS, EdD, Director, H.O.P.E. Health Initiative, National Baptist Convention, USA, Incorporated, Hernando, Mississippi, discusses the development of a national evidence-based paradigm to support the belief that faith-based advocacy can have an effective role in preventing childhood obesity.
This special Let's Move! issue has a wide range of contributions from leaders in the fight against childhood obesity including Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, NFL quarterback Drew Brees, Stephen Daniels, MD, PhD, Sandra Hassink, MD, Margo Wootan, DSc, and Editor-in-Chief David Katz, MD, MPH.
The issue covers a broad range of topics including creating environments that support routine physical activity and a healthy lifestyle, after-school obesity prevention programs, nutrition standards for school meals, faith-based advocacy efforts to end childhood obesity, gaming and technology for weight control, parent training programs for 2-4 year old Latino children, the role of sleep in childhood obesity, a roundtable discussion about what we don't know about childhood obesity, industry efforts to help children make healthy food choices, and success stories from the Let's Move! initiative.
"If we compare our efforts to overcome the peril of childhood obesity to a war, we must acknowledge that it is being waged, and can only be won, on multiple fronts," says David L. Katz, MD, MPH, Editor-in-Chief of Childhood Obesity and Director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center. "The faith-based community represents a veritable army of good works that can make a vitally important contribution to this campaign. Dr. Minor shows us how that can happen in an evidence-based manner. As we wait for evidence to catch up with on-going efforts, he also gives us reason-to have a little faith!"