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$500 million pledged to combat childhood obesity

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In an effort to turn the tide of childhood obesity in the U.S., the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced plans to commit $500 million to the fight.

The foundation will direct the funds toward research and school and community efforts over the next five years, placing emphasis on improving access to affordable, healthy foods and opportunities for safe physical activity, especially among children in low-income communities where obesity and health problems abound.

Coordination between communities and states and advocacy efforts were also identified as focus areas of the funding push.

According to the foundation, obesity rates have more than quadrupled among children ages 6 to 11 in the past four decades, and more than one in three children and adolescents are considered overweight or obese in the U.S.

Overweight adolescents have up to an 80 percent chance of becoming overweight or obese as adults, the foundation said.

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