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Expert calls for enhanced social safety net to reduce childhood obesity

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

As the obesity epidemic continues to rage, it is beginning to spread to children, with disastrous consequences for youg people's heart health. While it was once unthinkable, many children are now beginning to receive unhealthy cholesterol test results. However, one expert says there are things public health agencies can do to prevent these problems.

Craig Gundersen, a researcher at the University of Illinois said that a stronger social safety net including access to nutritious food for underprivileged children could reduce anxiety and limit childhood obesity.

He said that many young people become stressed about whether or not they will have enough to eat when they come from a low-income family. Stress often causes people to eat more than they need and changes the way their bodies handle the excess calories, often leading to obesity.

Strengthening the social safety net, Gundersen argues, could have a major impact on reducing the obesity epidemic. While lawmakers in Washington are currently looking at various ways to cut spending in order to save money, he says that investing in a strong network of assistance programs for the underprivileged could actually help reduce the nation's healthcare costs.

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