Prevention of Obesity:
Overcoming a 21st Century Public Health Challenge

More than one-third of American adults and one-sixth of children and adolescents are obese. These and other similar statistics have received significant attention in popular media during the past decade, but the attention has not produced measurable reductions in population-level obesity rates. The high obesity rates have also given rise to a huge commercial weight loss industry and have produced dramatic growth in obesity-related health care costs. But, experience to date demonstrates that most people who become obese remain obese in the long term, regardless of the treatment strategies they employ.

It seems clear that significant reductions in population rates for obesity will depend on identification and large-scale implementation of effective prevention strategies. The 2014 SEC Symposium will bring together scholars from each SEC university for the purpose of critically reviewing the body of knowledge that could guide the development and implementation of an effective national effort to markedly reduce the percentage of the American population that becomes overweight or obese.