Presidential candidates should address childhood obesity and bullying, poll says

June 18, 2012, University of Michigan Health System

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.

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.

Explore further: Nearly 1 in 4 grandparents store prescription medicines where children can easily find them

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

Related Stories

Nearly 1 in 4 grandparents store prescription medicines where children can easily find them

April 16, 2012
Unintentional poisonings from medicines cause more emergency room visits for young children each year than do car accidents.

Recommended for you

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.