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How Obesity Threatens America’s Future

(September 13, 2011 - School Nutrition Association)—On September 8, 2011 the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation held a congressional briefing to discuss the findings of their report, “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future.” The School Nutrition Association (SNA) attended the briefing.

Panelists included:
Jeffrey Levi, Ph.D.,
Executive Director, Trust for America’s Health
James Marks, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Vice President and Director, Health Group, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Norman R. Seip, Lieutenant General, United States Air Force (Retired), and member of the Mission Readiness Executive Advisory Council
Chip Johnson, Mayor, Hernando, Mississippi

During the briefing, childhood obesity was discussed in the context of military preparedness, in addition to an overview of the report discussing the disparities of obesity among ethnic minorities, low income, and those with lower education levels.

This year, for the first time, the report examined how the obesity epidemic has grown over the past two decades. Twenty years ago, no state had an obesity rate above 15 percent. Today, more than two out of three states, 38 total, have obesity rates over 25 percent, and just one has a rate lower than 20 percent. Since 1995, when data was available for every state, obesity rates have doubled in seven states and increased by at least 90 percent in 10 others. Obesity rates have grown fastest in Oklahoma, Alabama, and Tennessee, and slowest in Washington, D.C., Colorado, and Connecticut.  Twelve states now have obesity rates above 30 percent. Four years ago, only one state was above 30 percent.

Regarding schools the report mentions that:  

  • Twenty states and Washington, D.C. have stricter standards than the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Seven years ago, only four states had school meal standards that were stricter than USDA requirements.
  • Twenty-six states and Washington, D.C. currently have established farm-to-school programs. Five years ago only New York had a law that established a farm-to-school program.
  • There is discussion of increasing physical activity in schools. Right now, only a quarter of teenagers in public school are required to take any PE at all.

Links and the full report can be found here: http://healthyamericans.org/report/88/

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