The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Efforts to Reduce Childhood Obesity

Serious health consequences accompany obesity, including increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart attack and stroke, high blood pressure, and certain cancers, among others. By 2006, obesity was vying with tobacco as the nation’s leading cause of death. Moreover, obesity and its attendant health consequences were costing the nation an estimated $186 billion a year, or nearly 21 percent of annual medical spending in the United States.  And obesity was threatening the readiness of the Armed Forces. A study by an organization of retired military leaders found that at least 27 percent of young adults seventeen to twenty-four years of age were too fat to serve in the military, prompting retired US Army General Johnnie E. Wilson to state, “Child obesity has become so serious in this country that military leaders are viewing this epidemic as a potential threat to our national security.”