Presidential candidates should address childhood obesity and bullying, poll says

During this presidential election season, there will be plenty of debate between the candidates on the issues. But when it comes to childhood health concerns, a new poll shows many adults agree on the top priorities they want to see the candidates address: childhood obesity and bullying.

The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital on Children's recently asked adults to name the top child health concerns that the should address.

In a survey of more than 2,100 adults, participants selected the single most important child health issue from a list of 24 common child health concerns. Overall, was ranked highest, followed by bullying, drug abuse and child abuse and neglect.

In the poll, about one in six adults (17 percent) ranked childhood obesity first, and one in 7 (15 percent) put bullying as the top concern. Drug abuse was ranked highest by 11 percent and 8 percent chose child abuse and neglect. Together, these four priorities were the choice of over half of U.S. adults.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Answers did not differ based on the respondents' political party affiliation or race/ethnicity.

" is a major topic during this election season, but much of that focuses on and the costs of healthcare. The health of children usually is not the focus of the political talk," says Matthew M. Davis M.D., M.A.P.P., director of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health. But many serious health problems for adults stem from behaviors and patterns that begin in childhood—for instance, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and depression, Davis says, which reinforces the need for policies of early intervention.

"By asking about children's health and health policy, we hope to bring the public's voice to the policymakers. We found that no matter their politics or race/ethnicity, adults in the US agree on these top child health priorities," says Davis, who also is associate professor in the Evaluation and Research Unit and the Division of General Medicine at the U-M Medical School, and associate professor of Public Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

Davis says the high ranking of childhood obesity is consistent with previous poll results and other national data, and reinforces the need for policies to help children and parents.

"The federal government is currently responsible for many programs that may have an impact on childhood obesity, like school lunches, encouragement of physical activity and subsidies for specific food items," Davis says. "But the public is aware that more may be needed, and seems eager to hear from presidential candidates that they've made this a priority."

The public also recognizes that bullying, whether on the playground, at school or even online, also can lead to both immediate and lasting health problems for children.

"These are common issues that we can agree on, no matter your choice of presidential candidates. These four issues ¬-- childhood obesity, bullying, drug abuse and child abuse and neglect – were the choice of more than half of the adults that we polled," Davis says.

More information: Full report: C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health mottnpch.org/reports-surveys/p… ood-obesity-bullying

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A higher risk of obesity for children neglected by parents

Nov 13, 2007

Strategies for decreasing a child’s risk for obesity often focus on improving eating habits and maintaining a high level of physical activity. While this is one way to address the issue, another way to reduce the risk of ...

When does obesity become a child protection issue?

Jul 16, 2010

Childhood obesity alone is not a child protection concern, nor is failure to control weight. But consistent failure to change lifestyle and engage with outside support indicates neglect, particularly in younger children, ...

Being obese can attract bullies

May 03, 2010

Obese children are more likely to be bullied regardless of gender, race, socioeconomic status, social skills or academic achievement.

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

19 hours ago

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

21 hours ago

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

21 hours ago

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments