Report: Obesity is a public health issue

6 Jun

The recent “Weight of the Nation” conference focused on the public health aspects of obesity. Obesity is an important issue for schools because many children are obese and aside from health risks, these children are often targets for bullying. In Childhood obesity: Recess is being cut in low-income schools moi said:

The goal of this society should be to raise healthy and happy children who will grow into concerned and involved adults who care about their fellow citizens and environment. In order to accomplish this goal, all children must receive a good basic education and in order to achieve that goal, children must arrive at school, ready to learn. There is an epidemic of childhood obesity and obesity is often prevalent among poor children. The American Heart Association has some great information about Physical Activity and Children                                                                                        http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/Physical-Activity-and-Children_UCM_304053_Article.jsp#.TummU1bfW-c

Unfortunately, many low-income children are having access to physical activities at school reduced because of the current recession.

Sandy Slater is reporting in the Education Nation article, Low-Income Schools Are Less Likely to Have Daily Recess

Here’s what we know:

Children aged six to 17 should get at least one hour of daily physical activity, yet less than half of kids aged six to 11 get that much exercise. And as kids get older, they’re even less active.

The National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) recommends that elementary school students get an average of 50 minutes of activity each school day – at least 150 minutes of PE per week and 20 minutes of daily recess.

• Kids who are more active perform better academically.

As a researcher and a parent, I’m very interested in improving our understanding of how school policies and practices impact kids’ opportunities to be active at school. My colleagues and I recently conducted a study to examine the impact of state laws and school district policies on PE and recess in public elementary schools across the country.

During the 2006 to 2007 and 2008 to 2009 school years, we received surveys from 1,761 school principals in 47 states. We found:

On average, less than one in five schools offered 150 minutes of PE per week.

Schools in states with policies that encouraged daily recess were more likely to offer third grade students the recommended 20 minutes of recess daily.

Schools serving more children at highest risk for obesity (i.e. black and Latino children and those from lower-income families) were less likely to have daily recess than were schools serving predominantly white students and higher-income students.

Schools that offered 150 minutes of weekly PE were less likely also to offer 20 minutes of daily recess, and vice versa. This suggests that schools are substituting one opportunity for another instead of providing the recommended amount of both.

Schools with a longer day were more likely to meet the national recommendations for both PE and recess.

http://www.educationnation.com/index.cfm?objectid=ACF23D1E-229A-11E1-A9BF000C296BA163&aka=0

The gap between the wealthiest and the majority is society is also showing up in education opportunities and access to basic health care. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/childhood-obesity-recess-is-being-cut-in-low-income-schools/

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Weight of the Nation” conference was held in May and it focused upon the public health aspects of obesity. Here is an excerpt from the press release for the conference report:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

IOM Report Identifies Key Obesity-Prevention Strategies to Scale Back ‘Weight of the Nation’

WASHINGTON (May 8, 2012) — America’s progress in arresting its obesity epidemic has been too slow, and the condition continues to erode productivity and cause millions to suffer from potentially debilitating and deadly chronic illnesses, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine.  Solving this complex, stubborn problem requires a comprehensive set of solutions that work together to spur across-the-board societal change, said the committee that wrote the report.  It identifies strategies with the greatest potential to accelerate success by making healthy foods and beverages and opportunities for physical activity easy, routine, and appealing aspects of daily life.

The report, which was released today at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Weight of the Nation” conference, focuses on five critical goals for preventing obesity: integrating physical activity into people’s daily lives, making healthy food and beverage options available everywhere, transforming marketing and messages about nutrition and activity, making schools a gateway to healthy weights, and galvanizing employers and health care professionals to support healthy lifestyles. The committee assessed more than 800 obesity prevention recommendations to identify those that could work together most effectively, reinforce one another’s impact, and accelerate obesity prevention.

Specific strategies that the committee noted include requiring at least 60 minutes per day of physical education and activity in schools, industry-wide guidelines on which foods and beverages can be marketed to children and how, expansion of workplace wellness programs, taking full advantage of physicians’ roles to advocate for obesity prevention with patients and in the community, and increasing the availability of lower-calorie, healthier children’s meals in restaurants.

“As the trends show, people have a very tough time achieving healthy weights when inactive lifestyles are the norm and inexpensive, high-calorie foods and drinks are readily available 24 hours a day,” said committee chair Dan Glickman, executive director of congressional programs, Aspen Institute, Washington, D.C., and former secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture.  “Individuals and groups can’t solve this complex problem alone, and that’s why we recommend changes that can work together at the societal level and reinforce one another’s impact to speed our progress.”

The report’s proposed strategies and action steps aim to support individuals’ and families’ abilities to make healthy choices where they work, learn, eat, and play.  For example, healthy food and beverage options should be available at competitive prices everywhere that food is offered and an effort should be made to reduce unhealthy products.  Fast-food and chain restaurants could revise their recipes and menus to ensure that at least half of their children’s meals comply with federal dietary guidelines for moderately active children and charge little or no more for these options, the report says.  Shopping centers, convention centers, sports arenas, and other public venues that make meals and snacks available should offer a full variety of foods, including those recommended by the dietary guidelines.

Americans are surrounded by messaging that promotes sedentary activities and high-calorie foods and drinks, the report notes.  The food, beverage, restaurant, and media industries should step up their voluntary efforts to develop and implement common nutritional standards for marketing aimed at children and adolescents up to age 17.  Government agencies should consider setting mandatory rules if a majority of these industries have not adopted suitable standards within two years.  To increase positive messaging about physical activity and nutrition, government agencies, private organizations, and the media could work together to develop a robust and sustained social marketing campaign that encourages people to pursue healthy activities and habits….

The IOM report was sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  Established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine provides objective, evidence-based advice to policymakers, health professionals, the private sector, and the public.  The Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and National Research Council together make up the independent, nonprofit National Academies.  For more information, visit http://national-academies.org or http://iom.edu.

Contacts:

Christine Stencel, Senior Media Relations Officer

Shaquanna Shields, Media Relations Assistant

Office of News and Public Information

202-334-2138; e-mail news@nas.edu

Citation:___________________________________________________________________

Copies of Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation are available from the National Academies Press; tel. 202-334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242 or on the Internet at http://www.nap.edu.  Additional information is available at http://www.iom.edu/AcceleratingObesityPrevention. Reporters may obtain a copy from the Office of News and Public Information (contacts listed above).

Physically fit children are not only healthier, but are better able to perform in school.

Related:

Louisiana study: Fit children score higher on standardized testshttps://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/louisiana-study-fit-children-score-higher-on-standardized-tests/

School dinner programs: Trying to reduce the number of hungry children                                                                https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/school-dinner-programs-trying-to-reduce-the-number-of-hungry-children/

Children, body image, bullying, and eating disorders         https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/children-body-image-bullying-and-eating-disorders/

The Healthy Schools Coalition fights for school-based efforts to combat obesity                                                                https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/the-healthy-schools-coalition-fights-for-school-based-efforts-to-combat-obesity/

Seattle Research Institute study about outside play https://drwilda.wordpress.com/tag/childrens-physical-activity/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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