Rodale - publisher of mammoth US magazines Prevention, Men's Health, Organic Style, Backpacker, Bicycling, and Mountain Bike - is launching a company-wide programme to address the issue of childhood obesity.

Publisher of Bicycling announces childhood obesity initiative

"According to a study conducted by Rodale’s Prevention magazine, nearly 10 million children in America are either medically obese or on the verge of becoming so," said Rodale president and CEO Steve Murphy.

"Without question, fast food, poor eating habits in general and limited activity are key contributors to childhood obesity. We hope this initiative will help educate parents on how to prevent or conquer obesity in their family."

The initiative includes collaboration with ABC News on Fat Like Me, a one-hour special appearing on the ABC network October 27th at 8 p.m. (EST), hosted by The View’s Meredith Vieira. Rodale and its publications provided their extensive research and health information to the programme. Through four different

segments, Fat Like Me will provide insight, advice and experiences from those who have lived with obesity in their lives.

Prevention magazine’s Editorial Director Rosemary Ellis will share the results of a Rodale/Prevention survey on childhood obesity, driving home the point that if kids are overweight, the solution should involve the whole family – kids cannot fight the problem on their own.

Meredith Vieira will share her own experiences of being an overweight child and interview others including Dave Zinczenko, Editor-in-Chief of Men’s Health, whose entire family was overweight – a disease which contributed to the death of his father.

There will be a firsthand look at what it’s like to be an overweight child, as a popular 15-year-old high school student is placed into a "fat suit" and transferred to a new school where she must make new friends – all the while being documented by a hidden camera.

In addition to Fat Like Me, each of Rodale’s nine magazine titles has dedicated editorial coverage to the subject of childhood obesity in their November issues.

"Unfortunately, there are no quick cures, but there are highly effective tools that can be incorporated into a child’s lifestyle, particularly with the help of a caring adult," said Murphy.

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