Posts tagged childhood obesity
Critics didn’t think Rosa Soto would amount to anything because of her lisp. They thought she’d never graduate, or get a good job.
But Soto overcame her lisp, earned a political science and international relations degree from the University of Southern California, and has worked to empower underserved families and children for more than 15 years, according to a new profile story about her by the Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities (HKHC).
Soto is currently the regional director for the California Center for Public Health Advocacy (CCPHA) and the project director for the HKHC project in Baldwin Park, Calif.
“I’m a community organizer. I never thought of myself as a public health person,” she said, although her career spans teen pregnancy, diabetes and now childhood obesity.
Soto grounds herself in family and in helping others find their voice, according to the profile story. Rosa’s parents were immigrants from Mexico.
“A lot of my childhood was about fitting in and finding a place of belonging,” she explained. And she wants others to also feel they belong and can make a difference. That the status quo doesn’t have to remain “the norm.” This work is important to me because it gives me an opportunity to demonstrate that change is possible.”
Read Soto’s full story here.
States could dramatically cut health care costs and prevent obesity-related diseases if they reduce the average body mass index (BMI) of their residents by just 5% by 2030, according to a new analysis in the F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2012 report.
The report, released this week by Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), also shows that if adult obesity rates continue on their current trajectories, by 2030 all 50 states could have rates above 44% and a quarter could have rates above 60%. With that, the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension and arthritis could increase 10-fold by 2020—and double again by 2030.
Like obesity, these are diseases that disproportionately affect African Americans and Hispanics.
“This study shows us two futures for America’s health,” said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, RWJF president and CEO. “At every level of government, we must pursue policies that preserve health, prevent disease and reduce health care costs. Nothing less is acceptable.”
The analysis, which was commissioned by TFAH and RWJF and conducted by the National Heart Forum, is based on a peer-reviewed model published last year in The Lancet.
The Impact of Reducing Adult Obesity on Health Care Costs
The analysis looked at the consequences for states if their residents’ average BMI decreased 5% by 2030. A person who is 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighs 210 pounds, would be classified as obese (with a BMI of 30.1). A 5% reduction in his or her BMI would be the equivalent of losing roughly 10.5 pounds.
The subsequent cost savings for states through lower rates of obesity-related diseases would be substantial. The projections include:
- California – $81 billion
- New York – $40 billion
- Texas – $54 billion
- Illinois – $28 billion
- Florida – $34 billion
On the basis of the data collected and a comprehensive analysis, TFAH and RWJF recommend making investments in obesity prevention in a way that matches the severity of the health and financial toll the epidemic takes on the nation. The report provides a series of policy recommendations, including:
- Fully implement the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act through new school meal standards and updated nutrition standards for snack foods and beverages in schools;
- Increase investments in effective, evidence-based obesity-prevention programs;
- Protect the Prevention and Public Health Fund and fully implement the National Prevention Strategy and Action Plan;
- Make physical education and physical activity a priority in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act;
- Finalize the guidelines of the Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children;
- Fully support healthy nutrition in federal food programs; and
- Encourage full use of preventive health care services and provide support beyond the doctor’s office.
“We know a lot more about how to prevent obesity than we did 10 years ago,” said Dr. Jeff Levi, executive director of TFAH. “This report outlines how policies like increasing physical activity time in schools and making fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable can help make healthier choices easier. Small changes can add up to a big difference. Policy changes can help make healthier choices easier for Americans in their daily lives.”
Check out these videos of a few Latino families who are improving their healthy lifestyle habits.
A healthy change in her family’s eating habits has influenced eleven-year-old Alejandra to dream of being a chef when she grows up:
When Maya, age 7, learned of her high triglyceride levels, she and her family changed their eating habits to better manage her cholesterol:
The videos are from Be Smart. Be Well.
Several health organizations are spurring people to create healthy changes in their regions.
In celebration of the recent Food Revolution Day 2012, a global day of action to help fight the obesity epidemic, ChangeLab Solutuions organized a set of policy tools people need to create a Food Revolution in their communities.
- Model policies for healthier vending machines at school
- Toolkits for community kitchens, play space, and more
- Toolkits for fresher foods in schools, such as school gardening programs, farm-to-school programs, etc.
- Model policies for restricting food and beverage advertising in schools
- Know more about federal legislation on new nutrition standards
- Overcome barriers to providing free drinking water in schools
- Learn the importance of the farm bill
Tools can be found here.
The Society for Behavioral Medicine (SBM) also offers a variety so people can hone their advocacy skills. Their recent paper outlines action steps SBM and its members can take to impact health-related public policy, and SBM also offers a variety of policy statements on topics such as childhood obesity and school-based physical activity.
The time kids spend in front of a screen for entertainment has increased by an hour and 17 minutes since 2004, research shows.
Check out this new infographic about the surprising amounts of TV, video game, computer and other entertainment screen time that children are getting, and the opportunities for physical activity that they are missing out on. The infographic, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also provides tips for healthier activities and ways parents can limit screen time in the home.
Find the infographic here.
For more information, visit MakingHealthEasier.org/GetMoving
Forty years ago, nearly half of all students walked or biked to school. Now, only 14 percent do.
Why the change?
One major factor is school siting, the decisions school leaders make about where to build or rehabilitate schools. Over the past several decades, schools have increasingly been built on the outskirts of communities, too far from children’s homes for walking or biking to be practical. Meanwhile, obesity rates in children and adolescents have more than tripled, and a third of children are overweight or obese.
Locating schools closer to where families live can make it easier for kids to walk and bike to school—and more convenient for families to use school fields and other facilities after hours, when school is closed. When it comes to ethnicity and socioeconomic status, however, few neighborhoods are well integrated, which means students in neighborhood-based schools can be highly segregated, too.
But there are lots of ways to support both walkable and diverse schools. To help districts nationwide make school siting decisions that support their students’ health and educational success, Changelab Solutions has released a set of model school siting policies and other materials.
Nearly a third of U.S. kids and adolescents are overweight or obese, especially minority groups, including Latinos.
Many are urged to get more exercise but can’t follow this advice very easily where they live. Schools, for instance, have many recreational facilities—gyms, soccer fields, tracks, basketball courts, playgrounds, even swimming pools—but they keep them closed after hours due to security, liability and maintenance concerns.
But communities around the country are resolving these issues through what’s known as a joint use agreement: a written contract between a school district and, usually, a city agency, spelling out a formal arrangement that lets the two share the costs and maintenance and liability responsibilities.
Playing Smart is a new nuts-and-bolts guide to opening school property to the public through joint use agreements.
Complete with model agreement language and success stories from communities around the country, Playing Smart provides a comprehensive overview of the most common ways to finance these arrangements, and guidance on how to overcome obstacles that may arise in negotiating and enforcing a joint use agreement.
Playing Smart was produced through a partnership between KaBOOM! and the National Policy & Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Children Obesity, a project of Public Health Law & Policy.