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Parents and Teachers Agree on Solutions to Childhood Obesity

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It's no secret that childhood obesity is reaching epidemic levels in the U.S. Now a new report says parents and teachers agree, one part of the solution is to have less junk food and more exercise in schools.

You don't have to look very hard to see why so many children today are overweight.

A diet high in fatty, sugary junk food and low in exercise.

According to the Centers for Disease Control there are nearly twice as many overweight children today as there were 20 years ago.

Dr. Richard Carmona/ US Surgeon General: "There are significant health risks for the nine million U.S. children who are seriously overweight, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and the propensity to become overweight or obese as adults."

A new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows parents and teachers agree on how schools can help play a role.

More than 90 percent favor replacing junk food vending machines with healthier alternatives.

And more than 80 percent support making physical education classes a daily requirement for all grades.

Experts say we need to replace the high fat cookies and sugar-laden sodas with bottled water and whole fruit juices, as well as fresh fruit and low fat granola bars.

Some schools have already tried it and say it works.

Henrietta Patrick/ High School Teacher: "They've gone from donuts to fruit. They've gone from soda to milk. And they are happy with the change."

But eating healthier is only part of the equation. Many schools have no physical ed classes at all.

Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey/ Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: "It's important that the physical education be put back into schools so that children can have that balance between healthy physical activity and healthy eating."

The researchers say making the changes won't be easy. But the consequences of not making them will be much worse.

The same basic approach also applies to overweight adults.

A healthier, more balanced diet and more exercise. In fact, by doing that, parents are setting an example their children are likely to follow.

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