Teenage Smoking and Childhood Obesity: Which Is the More Urgent Concern?
We found an interesting feature on The New York Times that posed the question: in dealing with public health problems in children – teenage smoking and childhood obesity – which one should be prioritized over the other?
One will probably consider this as a Sophie’s Choice-type of scenario. When one thinks about it, it may be unwise to choose one over the other. We will certainly have to figure out a way to address both at the same time.
The feature seems to think, however, that efforts towards curbing childhood obesity seem to be taking precedence over efforts to curb teenage smoking. Kenneth E. Warner, Dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan, was quoted in the feature: “Obesity is the new kid on the block, relatively speaking. Tobacco is old news.”
Stanton A. Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California at San Francisco, shared that smoking is not being pushed to “the top of the agenda”. There are even some anti-smoking efforts that are being diverted towards the prevention of childhood obesity. Could this be the reason why a recent study released by the CDC showed a slowing down of the decline in teenage smoking?
Both obesity and smoking can lead to more serious medical conditions in the future; hence, there is definitely a need to keep efforts at curbing both health issues at the same level. Although that is something that is admittedly easier said than done, we would tend to believe that we as a country cannot afford to prioritize just one.childhood obesity, obese kids, teen nicotine addiction, teen smoking, teenage smoking