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Am J Public Health. 2011 Jun;101(6):e1-4. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300182.

The blind spot in the drive for childhood obesity prevention: bringing eating disorders prevention into focus as a public health priority.

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  • 1Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Public health attention to childhood obesity has increased in tandem with the growing epidemic, but despite this intense focus, successes in prevention have lagged far behind. There is a blind spot in our drive for childhood obesity prevention that prevents us from generating sufficiently broad solutions. Eating disorders and the constellation of perilous weight-control behaviors are in that blind spot. Evidence is mounting that obesity and eating disorders are linked in myriad ways, but entrenched myths about eating disorders undermine our ability to see the full range of leverage points to target in obesity preventive intervention studies. Our efforts to prevent childhood obesity can no longer afford to ignore eating disorders and the assemblage of related behaviors that persist unabated.

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