Active Living and Healthy Eating
Childhood obesity has become a national threat. There are more than 23 million young Americans who are overweight or obese today. It is estimated that this disease is costing Americans up to $14 billion a year in health care (adult obesity costs up to $147 billion each year in direct medical expenses alone.)
"Research shows that obese children are at increased risk for becoming overweight and obese adults and that they are more likely to develop serious chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular and renal disease. As a result, many experts predict that our nation's children will pay a steep price by living sicker and shorter lives than their parents.
"Precisely because the stakes for our children's health and the country's fiscal outlook are so high, our federal, state, local and school leaders must be at the forefront of addressing the childhood obesity epidemic by advancing policies and programs that make it easier for parents and caretakers to help children be physically active and consume nutritious foods," explains Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, director of Leadership for Healthy Communities.
Reports reveal that our schools contribute to the obesity epidemic, by continuing to provide and promote high calorie/low nutritional meals. And then, our communities contribute by failing to embrace policies that increase access to affordable and fresh fruits and vegetables and to amenities that promote physical activity, such as parks, open spaces, connected sidewalks, bicycle lanes and trails.
Many families are taking active living and healthy eating seriously at home, however support from our schools and communities are needed in order to help make necessary and sweeping change. The Leadership for Healthy Communities organization has made it easy for people to make a difference ~ they have reviewed current policies and programs geared towards childhood obesity prevention and created: Action Strategies Toolkits.
The Action Strategies Toolkit contains policy and program strategies in 10 action areas related to active living and healthy eating. Each section includes targeted strategies, stakeholders, policy and program options, directions on how to start programs, resources that can help inform the process, and examples of how other states and localities have achieved progress.
Hats off to the Leadership for Healthy Communities for making it easier for each of us to make a big difference for our kids today and for generations to come.