United in Awareness and Action

September 30, 2010

Today marks the end of the first ever National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, proclaimed into effect by President Obama on Sept 1, 2010 in response to the increasing recognition by health experts of childhood obesity as an epidemic. At the time of the proclamation, nearly 1 out of every 3 children between the ages of 2 and 19 were obese or overweight—almost 3 times the rate it was fifty years ago. The figures were even more alarming for some cultural or socioeconomic groups. Click on the chart to view some trends broken down by race.

Children who are identified as being overweight or obese are at much greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or stroke—conditions that used to primarily affect adults. In addition, they are more likely to be overweight or obese, develop life-threatening conditions, or even face premature death in adulthood.

Increasing national awareness about the severity of this problem is an important step in the direction of positive change. The awareness month has brought together great initiatives and organizations across the nation to better concert their efforts and spread their message. However, the work doesn’t end with the passing of September.

Like in many communities around the country, the fight to curb the rising obesity epidemic continues year-round at College Health Corps sites in Minnesota, primarily through efforts at increasing health literacy and promoting healthier practices.

Ruth, a CHC VISTA at Metropolitan State University, is currently working on a series of educational programs at Roosevelt Public Housing Neighborhood. These classes are intended to focus on health issues and will be geared towards youth from preschool to early high school.  Many of these classes will focus on healthy eating. Below is a schedule of upcoming sessions:

Date Topic Covered
Sept 28, 2010 Feel the Beat: How to Have A Healthy Heart at Any Age
Oct 5, 2010 Be Active, Be Fit: When and How to Exercise
Oct 12, 2010 The Food Pyramid and Eating Right to Maintain a Healthy Weight
Oct 19, 2010 More Nutrition Awareness – What ARE You Eating, Anyway?
Oct 26, 2010 Healthy Habits: Is Everyone Getting Enough Rest and Sleep?
Nov 2, 2010 Keep Smiling and Other Important Healthy Habits
Nov 9, 2010 Parenting: It Takes a Village to Raise a Child
Nov 23, 2010 Be a Pal To Neighbors with Asthma & Allergies

Post by: Jessica Zha, VISTA Leader

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