Combating Childhood Obesity

By Laura McNulty and Ginny A. Roth

A Day's Diet
“A Day’s Diet,” ca. 1930
National Library of Medicine #C04046

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Childhood obesity can lead to diseases we normally associate with adults – type two diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. One in three children in the United States is either overweight or obese. This poster was published in the 1930s by the American Medical Association (AMA) in cooperation with the U.S. Children’s Bureau and provided parents with guidelines for feeding their children between the ages of one and two. Surprisingly, the recommendations found on this poster are similar to the recommendations put out by health organizations today. Although, there is no mention of cod liver oil in the most recent recommendations.

Health officials stress that it is important to remember that kids will be kids and there will be times that children will not get the recommended amount of exercise time or will spend more time in front of a screen than at other times.  Do not fret.   The real goal is to make healthy eating and regular exercise a part of childhood and to develop healthy habits.

laura on the beach with her dogLaura McNulty is a recent graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is currently working at the National Library of Medicine as a Pathways Student. Beginning September 2013, she will be working as a conservation intern at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, PA.

portrait of Ginny Roth outsideGinny A. Roth is the Curator of Prints & Photographs in the History of Medicine Division at the National Library of Medicine.

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