Monday, August 29, 2011

Injury Prevention and Childhood Obesity Share a Common Goal

Injury prevention and childhood obesity share the common goal of improving the health of children and youth. This common goal is the glue the binds public health programs and encourages our collaboration to coordinate horizontally and veritcally to develop multidisciplinary interventions and initiatives that keep children and youth safe and healthy.

Injury prevention is often overlooked as an important consideration in developing interventions that support our shared goal. However, unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death and hospitalization for children aged 19 years and younger. This is particularly concerning for obesity prevention because injuries are a primary reason that people stop participating in physical activity. Since physical activity is identified as a key strategy to prevent obesity, preventing injury may influence whether or not people initiate physical activity or continue being physically active.

Including injury prevention in the development of interventions to prevent obesity would: pave the way for new partnerships, stretch scarce public health resources and strengthen communication and education networks required to tackle our shared goal.

The following three articles connect the importance of Injury Prevention to Obesity Prevention and the greater public health community:
  1. An Injury Prevention Perspective on the Childhood Obesity Epidemic - This article describes the connection between injury prevention and physical activity, proposes the benefits of using an injury prevention framework when developing physical activity interventions, and recommends that an injury prevention perspective on the childhood obesity epidemic be used to guide future research. 
  2. Engaging and Mobilizing Community Members to Prevent Obesity Among Adolescents - Public health interventions to prevent obesity can occur at many levels. This article uses Diabetes Today as a framework to obesity prevention among youth. The framework requires us to look closely at the physical environment where adolescents live, work, and play; and recommends that one way to enhance the environments of children and youth is to reduce their risk for injury so they can engage in physical activity in safe environments
  3. Reversing the Trend of Childhood Obesity - This article highlights ideas generated at the Symposium on Epidemiologic, Ethical and Anthropologic Issues in Childhood Overweight and Obesity. It is recognized that there is limited evidence to know what interventions will work in targeting childhood obesity; however, there is recognition that regardless of the intervention it is important to emphasize the need to attend to injury prevention as interventions are developed.

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