Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. to Launch National Childhood & Adolescent Obesity Initiative

Atkins Physicians Council Joins Call for Funding New York State's Childhood Obesity Prevention Program

NEW YORK, Feb. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. (ANI) announced today its plans to develop and support a national childhood obesity initiative to combat what is arguably our nation's most critical public health problem. Nationwide, approximately 30% of children (ages 6-19) are overweight and 15 percent are obese. "If this problem is not addressed urgently by lawmakers, educators, parents and health professionals the current epidemic will result in a future generation of Americans who will for the first time in our history have a shorter life span than the previous generation," explained Dr. Stuart Trager, Chairman of the Atkins Physician Council.

"We applaud the work advocates, schools, researchers and politicians are doing to prevent childhood obesity and improve the lives and future health of our young people," said Trager. "ANI is committed to supporting innovative childhood obesity programs that are based on the latest scientific research in the areas of medicine, nutrition and exercise."

The ANI youth obesity initiative will work with educators, advocates, health professionals and parents to:

* Encourage at least an hour of physical activity on a daily basis;
* Limit sedentary activities like watching TV, working on the computer
and playing video games;
* Serve appropriate portions of natural, whole foods;
* Strictly limit children's intake of processed foods, sugars and trans
* Support evidence-based research that examines best approaches to weight
loss and management;
* Reconsider and revise the current USDA Food Pyramid to reflect new
science; and
* Develop public and private alliances that disseminate and reinforce
sound nutritional and diet policies that impact our youth.

As a first step, Dr. Stephen Sondike, Director of the Nutrition, Exercise and Weight Management (NEW) Kids Program at the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and member of the Atkins Physician Council, joined with representatives from the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and the New York State Dietetic Association in Albany (NY) to lend support for State Assemblyman Felix Ortiz's Childhood Obesity Prevention Program. At a press conference yesterday, Dr. Sondike stressed the need to apply scientifically sound solutions along with innovative school- and community- based programs to reverse the affects of child and adolescent obesity.

"As health professionals, we need to focus on all emerging research to solve this public health crisis. For many years it was believed that the best approach to treating overweight and obesity included a diet that restricts calories and/or fatty foods," said Sondike. "But research, published in influential pediatric journals including The Journal of Pediatrics, Pediatrics, and Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine, shows us that controlled carbohydrate diets, which emphasize the consumption of high protein foods that often taste better and are more satisfying, have better success at reducing weight and maintaining healthy weight."

"From the classroom to the kitchen table, young people can be encouraged to eat right and exercise more so they can effectively reverse the trend of childhood obesity and its devastating health consequences. We intend to make use of our expertise to work with parents, policy makers, educators and physicians to develop programs that promote a healthy and active lifestyle for our youth," concluded Sondike.

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