Associations Receive Grant To Fight Childhood Obesity
A healthcare foundation's grants could help keep the fight against childhood obesity in the policy fight. Could the efforts of these associations help solve a growing problem for Americans?
The fight to ensure children have healthy options at the lunch table just got a little bit of financial help.
Leadership for Healthy Communities, a part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, awarded grants to six national associations to influence policy on childhood obesity.
The national program works with state and local leaders to fight childhood obesity and fits into RWJF’s focus on improving U.S. healthcare issues. By funding these associations, the program hopes to eliminate bad eating habits and promote active living, both in schools as well as family neighborhoods.
Who’s involved: The six associations receiving grants are the American Association of School Administrators, the Local Government Commission, the National Association of County and City Health Officials, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Women in Government. Most of these associations are already active supporters of the fight against obesity, many of them by educating their communities on ways to prevent obesity in schools and other environments.
The initiative: According to the press release, the associations were chosen to receive the grants for their involvement in policy making across multiple levels of government and government agencies. “Policy changes that make it easier for kids and families to eat healthier foods and be active are helping to improve the health of our nation’s children, families and communities,” said Maya Rockeymoore, director of Leadership for Healthy Communities, in a statement. “We are proud to work with policy-maker associations whose creativity and commitment are helping to build national momentum around this issue.”
Why it’s important: Obesity is quickly becoming an epidemic among American children: Nearly one in every three American children is overweight or obese, which is almost triple the 1980 level. Studies show 50 percent of those children will grow up to be overweight adults as well, mostly due to bad eating habits and lack of exercise. How could policy change the current state of childhood obesity? One place to start is schools. In 2011, studies showed that children that ate lunch offered by schools were 29 percent more likely to be obese. Some schools have begun offering healthier food options in schools, eliminating soda, and restricting vending machine options, but national policy could make this school diet a requirement.
What do you think can be done to assist with child obesity issues? Share your stories in the comment section below.