Book Review

Overcoming Obesity in Childhood and Adolescence

by Donald Schumacher and J. Allen Queen, Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, Calif., 2007, 146 pp. with index, $24.95 softcover

The authors of this timely, authoritative and needed overview of school policies for wellness, nutrition, fitness and health quickly frame the issue with this assertion: “Childhood obesity is the No. 1 public health problem of the 21st century.”

A joint publication with the National Association of Elementary Principals, the book serves as a guide to “help principals navigate their way through the many contradictory recommendations confronting them,” as the authors put it, when creating and implementing appropriate programs and curricula. However, most experts on leadership assert that reform is rarely successful without total commitment at the top of the institution.

This concise and comprehensive text provides an outstanding game plan at the tactical and operational levels for motivated building principals, but it does not address the requisite commitment at the strategic level. The enactment of appropriate policies and administrative directives by the board of education, following the recommendations of the superintendent, will require time, treasure and training.

Donald Schumacher is the medical director at the Center for Nutrition and Preventive Medicine in Charlotte, N.C., and J. Allen Queen is a professor of educational leadership at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Overcoming Obesity in Childhood and Adolescence provides guidelines for integrating health and wellness into classroom instruction across the curriculum, and serves as an initial model for policy and practice. The book can and should be read in one sitting.

Reviewed by Charles Rudiger, professor of leadership and technology, Dowling College, Oakdale, N.Y.