Voters Want Presidential Candidates to Tackle Childhood Obesity and Bullying

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Image REUTERS/Jason Reed

President Barack Obama and presidential hopeful Mitt Romney have to weigh in on several key health concerns in order to make people happy. In a new survey of child health, bullying and obesity were top priorities.

As the election gets closer and the President and his opponents begin debates, a number of issues will be discussed ranging from the economy to healthcare. Based on a new poll, bullying and childhood obesity should also be on the agenda.

The survey was conducted by the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. Over 2,100 adults participated in the poll, choosing one out of 24 child health concerns that should be addressed as the election draws near. While childhood obesity was the top priority among adults, bullying, drug abuse, child abuse and neglect were other top concerns.

Nearly 17 percent of those polled chose childhood obesity as the top concern that should be addressed by the presidential candidates during the election. Bullying was the top concern for 15 percent of the adults polled. Drug abuse was the top priority for 11 percent of adults while 8 percent of adults chose child abuse and neglect.

These concerns crossed political lines, whether an adult was registered either as a Democrat, Republican or Independent, and race/ethnicity was also not a factor for those who were polled. The researchers believe these concerns to be especially important considering the hot topic of healthcare.

Presidential candidates will surely weigh in on the potential healthcare reforms that stem from President Obama's Affordable Care Act. Mr. Romney, the potential Republican candidate, has already stated that he would repeal the Act if elected. The United States Supreme Court is expected to rule on the potential constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, possibly overturning the law entirely or just parts of it.  

The researchers hope the poll helps shift the focus to much larger health concerns. According to Mathew M. Davis, MD, director of the National Poll on Children's Health, a lot of health problems plaguing adults have their roots in childhood. Tackling issues like childhood obesity could improve cardiovascular risk and diabetes while addressing bullying could help reduce depression.

Childhood obesity is a top priority which requires more public health efforts, regardless of political affiliation. According to the poll, voters want to find ways to improve childhood obesity and presidential candidates could discuss intervention plans, ways to promote physical activity or how to get children to eat better.

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