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The AMA supports a wide range of policies and activities regarding public health issues, including the promotion of healthy lifestyles (healthy eating, physical activity, not using tobacco, and avoiding excess or risky use of alcohol), the elimination of health disparities, violence prevention, geriatric and adolescent health, and combating obesity.

Specific to childhood obesity, AMA policy supports the following:

Healthy Eating

  • Evidence-based nutrition standards for all food (including a la carte, snack bar, and vending machine offerings) served and sold in K-12 schools
  • Provision of vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, vegetarian foods, and healthful beverages in school lunch programs
  • Banning food commercials aimed at children
  • Improved nutritional quality, and nutritional information on menus and menu boards, in chain restaurants

Adequate Physical Activity

  • Meaningful and mandatory physical education programs for all children, including the handicapped, in K-12 schools, conducted by qualified personnel
  • At least 30 minutes of daily free play or physical education in elementary school
  • Family-oriented education about the benefits of physical activity

Health Education in Schools

  • Comprehensive programs and activities in elementary and secondary schools to help young people develop the skills needed to choose healthy dietary patterns and adequate physical activity

Public Education

  • Educating the public about obesity, including the benefits of healthy eating and physical activity to prevent and limit the health consequences of obesity

Physician Education

  • Educating physicians about the prevention and management of overweight and obesity in children, including physical activity and nutrition assessment and counseling methods
  • Routine determination of body mass index (BMI) percentiles in children


  • More research on the relative efficacy of clinical and public health interventions to prevent, diagnose, treat, and manage overweight and obesity