Childhood obesity has more than doubled in past 30 years
SAN DIEGO COUNTY – Everyone can play a role in fighting childhood obesity. On Sept. Sept. 4, the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative released its updated Call to Action: Childhood Obesity Action Plan, highlighting what everyone can do to make sure children’s waistlines shrink.
In its plan, the initiative, a public-private partnership that aims to promote healthy choices through policy, systems and environmental change, outlines more than 100 strategies for the region to strengthen the local efforts to reduce childhood obesity. The plan was released to coincide with National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.
The strategies all focus on policy and environmental changes intended to make a healthy choice the easy choice in seven settings, including government, businesses and schools.
“We have come a long way over the last nine years in raising awareness and making inroads toward reversing this devastating trend,” said County Supervisor Ron Roberts at a news conference. “With today’s release of this best practices blueprint, our public and private sector partners will have updated tools to deliver even better results in future years.”
In the U.S., childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the most recent study available for San Diego County, childhood obesity fell from 35.8 percent in 2005 to 34.5 percent in 2010, a 3.7 percent change. This drop was higher than the rates of reduction in all other Southern California counties and also higher than the statewide rate of reduction of 1.1 percent.
Some of the strategies that have helped to reduce childhood obesity in San Diego County and that are included in plan are:
•Increasing access to healthy foods
•Improving opportunities for safe, physical activity
•Creating social, economic and service environments that support healthy eating and active living
•Reducing access to and consumption of sugary drinks
•Creating safe routes to school and places like parks, playgrounds and gyms
“The recommended strategies presented in the Action Plan were developed with the input and support of over 100 partners of the Childhood Obesity Initiative from both public and private sectors,” said Cheryl Moder, vice president of Collective Impact at Community Health Improvement Partners, a San Diego nonprofit that facilitates the initiative. “This document provides a roadmap for obesity prevention efforts in San Diego County and has also been used as a resource by other communities throughout the U.S.”
Now in its ninth year, the Childhood Obesity Initiative is working with partners from multiple sectors and is at the forefront of implementing innovative policies and practices that are helping to curb childhood obesity.
Core funding for the initiative is provided by the County of San Diego, First 5 San Diego and Kaiser Permanente. The goals of the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative align with Live Well San Diego, the county’s vision for healthy, safe and thriving communities.
While no comprehensive study on childhood obesity in San Diego County has been done recently, local health officials believe the obesity rate in children has remained steady or is declining.
“We know that overweight children are likely to become overweight adults, putting them at increased risk for a lifetime of chronic health problems,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Addressing this significant public health issue requires the creation of environments and policies that support individuals and families to make healthy choices in their neighborhoods and communities.”
To read the action plan, click here.
For more information about the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative, visit www.ourcommunityourkids.org/ or
contact Cheryl Moder at (858-609-7961) or [email protected]