Children at Risk as Obesity Trends Up
Obesity rates continued their climb in 31 states last year, according to Kevin Freking, Associated Press writer on August 27, 2007. Evidently, no state showed a decline, and Mississippi became the first state to crack the 30 percent barrier for adult residents considered to be obese. The report, "F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America, 2007" by the Trust for America's Health for the first time looked at obesity rates among children ages 10 to 17. The District of Columbia had the highest percentage; 22.8 percent. Utah had the lowest percentage of obese youth; 8.5 percent. Click here to find out what's happening in your state.
Jeffrey Levi, the organization's executive director, talks about ways to address childhood obesity: "If we want kids to eat healthier food, we have to invest the money for school nutrition programs so that school lunches are healthier," he said. "If we want people to be more physically active, then there have to be safe places to be active."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publish a wealth of information about healthy eating, exercise and advice and resources on maintaining a healthy weight. One is "We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children Activity and Nutrition) Materials - Families Finding the Balance: A Parent Handbook." It provides practical tips to help families find the "right balance of eating well and being physically active to maintain a healthy weight." It explains the concept of Go, Slow and Whoa foods, proper portion size, and how to make screen time active time. Schools, community planners and health care professionals are encouraged to distribute these materials to parents at community events, or use them with patients.
The Clinton Foundation's Healthy Schools Program and its Alliance for a Healthier Generation focuses on preventing childhood obesity and creating healthier lifestyles for all children and targets several areas to spark change and slow the increasing rates of childhood obesity in the U.S. The effort focuses on four key areas: industry, schools, healthcare professionals and kids.
Childhood obesity looms as one of the nation's leading public health threats. We are the ones feeding this nation's kids. What is it going to take for us to start doing a better job of that at home and in our schools? (As "it starts at home," you may not be able to resist, as I was not, calculating your own Body Mass Index (BMI) on the CDC site.)
And what is it going to take for this decidedly un-sexy issue to move to the forefront of foundation and donor investment priorities? We'd love to hear more about resources our readers can use to find new ways to have an impact on childhood obesity.