(originally published September 5, 2011)
President Barack Obama issued a clarion call on childhood obesity in America on Wednesday, August 31. The President signed a Proclamation for National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month that designates September as the health observance. The Proclamation details that America’s children are facing challenges as the obesity epidemic affects so many young people. This public health crisis threatens their health, livelihoods and future. The President stated that the rate of childhood obesity in America has tripled and “a third of American children are overweight or obese.” Many of these children are on track for developing chronic diseases such as Type II diabetes, heart disease and cancer before becoming adults.
As the President summons the nation to address childhood obesity, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) dovetails our statewide efforts to address this health crisis in all 159 counties in Georgia. Public health officials know that “everyone has a role to play in preventing and reversing the tide of childhood obesity” as outlined in the President’s Proclamation.
The Georgia Public Health Department (DPH) is making strides to address the obesity epidemic with partners, parents, teachers, schools, community leaders and our children. “Childhood obesity cuts across all cultural and demographic lines” and in Georgia our work continues through such efforts as the SHAPE Act Assessment, which has been piloted in Bibb, Lowndes, White, Hall and Gwinnett counties. The health assessment will measure a student's cardiovascular capacity, flexibility, muscular strength and endurance, body composition and body mass index (BMI). Parents will receive an assessment of their child’s fitness level and the final report of the pilot will be submitted to Governor Nathan Deal in 2012.
In the last August 29th issue of PHWEEK, we reported the latest stats on childhood obesity according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Georgia Department of Public Health.