Our society has become sedentary, and our country’s current culture of inactivity and overeating poses disturbing dangers for our nation’s young people. Today, too many American adolescents and children spend hours on end watching television, playing video games and eating junk food. In the last two decades alone, the percentage of overweight youth in this country has nearly tripled, and the trends are only getting worse. If we are not careful, this epidemic will threaten the health and well-being of an entire generation of young people.

The consequences of inaction—for individuals, states and our nation—are incalculable. For too long, we have focused resources on treating diseases rather than preventing them. From a public policy standpoint, we must focus more of our efforts on prevention. Mom is right: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”