September 9, 2009

Attention Please, IOM Report Shares How Local Gov’t Can Cut Childhood Obesity

A just released report titled Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity, from the Institute of Medicine and sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, offers myriad steps local governments can take to prevent the escalating incidence of child obesity.

The report committee’s chair, Eduardo J. Sanchez, vice president and chief medical officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, made the a quintessential statement: "The healthy choice must be the easy choice.” He goes on to state, "Although leisure activities and food consumption are personal matters, local environments influence the choices people make. It's hard to eat fruit instead of chips or cookies when neighborhood stores carry little fresh produce, or to bike to school on busy roads with no bike lanes. Local officials can make a dent in the obesity epidemic, as demonstrated by the examples we highlighted in this report." I say, right on!!

The report provides pages and pages of action steps local governments can take to cut the incidence of childhood obesity. When you hear the statistics that currently children born in 2000 and beyond have a one in three chance of developing type 2 diabetes and even worse, African American and Hispanic American children have a one in two chance of developing type 2 diabetes; it’s time for action!

Let’s collectively make sure that the action steps iterated in this report are communicated to our local public officials and others on the front line of working with our children. Personally, I’m sending this report to my school board member, state senator, candidates for state delegate, and my daughter’s middle school principal. Please help get the word out that we need to take action now!