James S. Marks, senior vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, recently wrote a powerful article titled "We Need Bold Action on Childhood Obesity" in the Huffington Post. In the article, he highlights some statistics that have made headlines lately. You've probably heard or seen a few of them at some point, but seeing the facts presented together is astonishing:
- Adult obesity rates rose in 28 states over the past year and declined only in the District of Columbia.
- Nearly one-third of children are obese or overweight, placing them at higher risk for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and a host of other serious chronic illnesses.
- 84% of Americans believes the childhood obesity epidemic is a serious problem -- Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and Tea Party supporters agree.
- 56% believe we should launch a comprehensive national program to prevent childhood obesity, even if we have to invest billions of dollars now to prevent hundreds of billions in costs later.
As physical educators or advocates of quality physical education, you guys are the ones that see first-hand the toll childhood obesity is having on our children. So, we want your input on a few questions:
1. If the study is right and 85% of Americans believe childhood obesity is a serious problem, then what can we do, as individuals, to help solve this crisis?
2. Marks suggests strengthening the National School Lunch Program as the first "bold step" Congress should take in combating the childhood obesity epidemic. What do you recommend as the first "bold step?"