Governor Convenes Childhood Obesity Council

September 5, 2013

Originally published on August 12, 2013

Gov. Nathan Deal has gathered a team of leaders to guide Georgia's efforts to fight childhood obesity around the state. The Governor's Advisory Council on Childhood Obesity met for the first time on Wednesday.

The council will advise Gov. Deal on the best ways to reduce childhood obesity and overweight, which affects 43 percent of children in Georgia. The council members also will champion the governor's Georgia SHAPE initiative by making childhood obesity a priority for all business, academic and philanthropic groups and leaders.

Leading a statewide network of partners, the council will work to move Georgia from one of the worst rates in the U.S. for childhood obesity to the best rate, efforts that will ultimately ensure the long-term competitiveness and viability of Georgia's future.

"We are extremely grateful for the dedication of this diverse group of people to making the monumental changes needed to improve the health of Georgia's children," said Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health.

The 16-member council includes Gov. Deal, Fitzgerald, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and leaders from the fields of health, education, business and nutrition.

Georgia was once known as the state with the second highest rate of childhood obesity in the U.S. But in April, government statistics showed a 5 percent decrease in the state's childhood obesity rate, dropping Georgia to the 17th spot on the list. 

Georgia SHAPE is also working to bring those rates even lower. Since 2011, the governor's program has been working with children, parents and schools to increase physical activity and promote healthy, active lifestyles around the state. In 2013, SHAPE launched Power Up for 30, a voluntary program that encourages elementary schools around Georgia to add an extra 30 minutes of physical activity into each school day. The program also introduced the FitnessGram to Georgia schools, a tool that evaluates five different areas of health-related fitness.

For more information about Georgia SHAPE, visit www.georgiashape.org.

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