Thinking about Childhood Obesity


For my White Paper, I am hoping to write about childhood obesity and examine how public policy could influence the problem in this country. Childhood obesity has become a very popular public issue and parts of the population have called for reform to help aid the nation with this epidemic. Research on this topic, especially the type coming from think tanks, really addresses the causes and effects of this epidemic in the country. The relationship between these is what I want to research.

The think tank I found was RAND, which has an entire section about research surrounding childhood obesity. The RAND corporation is a non-profit think tank that tries to positively influence government policy through research.  It has a massive amount of research surrounding my topic, especially covering the relationship between childhood obesity and portion size. I found this to be interesting because I believe that portion and serving size is something that can be regulated and controlled. Their research demonstrated that children are more likely to finish everything that is given to them, especially when snacks are concerned. Could this intake be limited? RAND’s research about child obesity raises a lot of interesting points and highlights issues surrounding the epidemic that could be protected by government policy.

I think that the research that a think tank like RAND can provide about a policy issue like childhood obesity would be hugely helpful for our research and writing process for the white paper. This type of research is invaluable because it is the compilation of years of research and is published in a professional way. I had never really heard of think tanks before this or entirely understood what they were used for, but this process has given me an understanding and an appreciation for the work that think tanks produce.

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7 responses to “Thinking about Childhood Obesity

  1. I think this will be a very interesting topic as there seems to be a lot of hotly debated legislation regarding children’s obesity. From school-provided lunches to vending machines, the trend of legislation controlling what kids eat is a relatively recent one as obesity is more a problem than it ever has been. In other classes of mine, we have looked at the geographic and demographic components of obesity and there are many correlations you may find surprising.

  2. To be honest I wasn’t entirely sure what a think tank was either prior to this blog post. But anyways, I think that it would certainly be interesting for you to look into portion size, and look into ways that it could possibly be regulated. I for one would be interested to hear what suggestions they have. On another note, something that might be interesting to look into would be the presence of fast food in childhood obesity. With places like McDonalds, Burger King, and even Dunkin Donuts all over the place, it could be fruitful to look into whether there has been a drastic change in the rate of people stopping into these places.

  3. RAND, I think, is the ORIGINAL think tank. We can Ask Brody. They also started in military affairs. So, personally, I am surprised that they cover this.

    Now you can see why Mayor Bloomberg focused on soda size. However the reaction also reveals how difficult it can be to use good results to get effective policy.

  4. I think this a great idea for your white paper. Childhood obesity is something that definitely needs to be solved. In one of my classes last year I learned that our generation’s life expectancy is less than our parent’s because of obesity. I would like to see the regulations being taken to remedy this situation.

  5. I also have never had any exposure to think tanks before this blog post. I find it reassuring to know that there groups out there that are looking to find solutions to problems with everyday societal issues. Think tanks would be a great source of research for your topic because it so relevant to an issue affecting the entire country. I would be interested to see if there is a pattern that exists nationwide among children who have this problem.

  6. Focus on childhood obesity has gained significant momentum over the past decade and could be a great topic Mara. The amount of responsibility that falls upon the government and fast food restaurants for this epidemic can be controversial yet important to address in your research. Hopefully parents will continue to become educated on what they feed their children with new laws requiring restaurants to display the calorie count of various menu items.

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