Working to Tackle Childhood Obesity

Medical professionals, faith leaders and policy makers are helping put plans in place so communities can reduce childhood obesity.

I’ve had the opportunity in the past few weeks to talk with advocates and supporters of The Campaign for Healthy Kids.

The campaign was created as part of a partnership between the Save the Children and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help fight the disturbing statistic that nearly one in three children or adolescents in our country are being classified as overweight or obese.

The Campaign for Healthy Kids is working to find the best practices and programs and get them into the communities.

There are two main issues when trying to implement policy regarding childhood obesity. One is a lack of consistency and coordinating efforts amongst federal, state and local policy makers.

The second problem is that what works for one school district or community may not work for another. It seems that there needs to be a program that defines standards, ideas and protocols, but also gives local school districts and communities the tools necessary to implement best practices based on the needs of their own area.

Enter Coordinated School Health (CSH), a program recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help school districts focus on improving the health of their students. Andrew Hysell, the director of Campaign for Healthy Kids, says, “Targeted Coordinated School Health puts
tools in place at the local level so that individuals can have an impact in
their own community.”

Joining the fight against childhood obesity is Faiths United to End Childhood Obesity. On Sept. 21, 2011 they sent a letter to the governors of each state urging them to implement CSH:

The Coordinated School Health model was developed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to provide communities with a framework for managing new and existing health-related programs. CSH maximizes the benefits of health and wellness programs for all children through community partnerships with businesses, faith-based organizations, foundations, educational institutions and medical/health professionals.”

The signatures of 33 heads of national faith groups supporting the CSH program were sent with this letter, along with statistical evidence showing that the state of Tennessee has seen a decrease in obesity since implementing the CSH program.

Alecia Sanchez is the policy director at the California Center for Public Health Advocacy. She explained that California is in the process of implementing
Coordinated School Health and working with state legislatures and policy makers to best meet the needs of California and our local communities.

For more information about California’s Coordinated School Health, visit the California Department of Education.


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