By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Last week the American Medical Association put its weight behind requiring yearly instruction aimed at preventing obesity for public school children and teens. I have been talking about the obesity issue in children for quite some time. There are the obvious short term effects but long term we see that there is a greater risk of diabetes.

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The other issue is that diabetes is occurring at younger ages than ever before. You have to realize that the long term effects of diabetes are an increased risk of heart disease as well as neurologic problems and kidney issues.

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This is probably the biggest reason why the nation’s largest physicians group agreed to support legislation that would require classes in causes, consequences and prevention of obesity for 1st through 12th graders.

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One area where they stopped short is also very important. The idea of including gym class and encouraging other forms of exercise cannot be overstated. All of this contributes to better health and keeping those pounds off.