Politic365

 
 


Policy

7:36pm September 30, 2013

Fighting Childhood Obesity, One Community at a Time

children-combating-obesity

By Shavon Arline-Bradley, Senior Director, NAACP Health Programs

As children everywhere head back to school, filling their book bags with folders and their lunch boxes with snacks, families must keep a watchful eye on the types of foods that are filling their stomachs.

Childhood obesity is one of the most pressing social justice issues of our time, and the alarming rates of overeating among our children, particularly those of color, deserve our full attention.

Every September, National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month gives elected officials, educators, physicians and families the opportunity to take a stand.

We know that African-American and Latino children are more likely to be poor, obese and live in unsafe communities where there are few opportunities for physical activity, fewer supermarkets and limited access to healthy food options.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7 percent in 1980 to nearly 18 percent in 2010. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5 percent to 18 percent over the same period.

These high rates of childhood obesity have placed our children on a dangerous path, laden with social discrimination that could lead to low self-esteem and poor academic performance as well as medical complications that can last a lifetime.

It has been proven that obese young people have an 80 percent chance of being obese adults. Even more alarming is that obese children are at risk for associated adult health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.

If entire communities — schools, families, churches and policymakers — don’t act now, the results could be fatal.

The NAACP is currently focusing its efforts on ensuring that healthy foods are served in inner-city school districts. We know that when sugary foods and beverages are sold in school stores and vending machines, students eat more unhealthy snacks and take in more calories.

Our Tennessee and New York State Conferences are working towards getting school districts to adopt competitive food guidelines that go above and beyond federal guidelines. The Mississippi State Conference is working with its partners to provide opportunities for physical activity in a safe environment.

For many families the war on obesity will be fought at the kitchen table as parents and adult caregivers usually oversee their children’s diet at home. Still, it’s important to note that the healthy choice has to be the easy choice. Parents who have access to healthier food options have an easier time ensuring their children develop health eating habits.

Exercise is also an important piece of the puzzle. We have got to get our kids running, jumping, playing, moving. By taking an additional 2,000 steps per day, an individual can begin the process of stopping weight gain.

Safe environments help to facilitate rigorous exercise. We have to improve community walkability and public transportation, enhance recreational spaces, and allow for better access to school playgrounds outside of school hours.

Finally, we must also urge state and local lawmakers to ensure that healthy school lunches are being served in schools and that communities have better access to healthy, affordable foods in corner stores and local grocery stores.

People are products of their environment. If the environment does not support a healthy lifestyle or healthy choices, it will be difficult for some to change they their behavior.

Curbing this quiet epidemic will require a community-wide effort. Through mobilizing our members on the ground and partnering with individuals in the public health community, the NAACP is working to change the tide of child obesity in communities of color. Join us in the fight to save our children.

As our kids head back to school, let’s remember to teach the importance of reading, writing, arithmetic and health!

 



About the Author

Guest Contributor
Guest Contributor





 
 

 
central-park-five

The Central Park Five and the Continued Battle to End Racial Profiling

                      By Dr. Niaz Kasravi, Criminal Justice Director, NAACP Many of us would like to believe that we live in a world where children could not be coerced int...
by Guest Contributor
1

 
 
cellphone_wireless-Taxation

Wireless an Essential Service for Minorities; Increased Taxation Could Hinder Use

MyWireless.org released the results of its Annual National Consumer Survey on wireless use and sentiment, and, yet again, the results demonstrate that African Americans and Hispanics find their wireless service incredibly valua...
by Kristal High
1

 
 
Trayvon_Martin_rallies_around_the_country_18_t607

Florida NAACP: Elevating Energy Engagement as a Civil Rights Issue

Citing health disparities and economic opportunity as primary motivators, the Florida NAACP released a new report, Just Energy Policies: Reducing Pollution and Creating Jobs, that sets forth an agenda for increasing energy affo...
by Jessica Washington
2

 

Advertisement
 
cornell_william_brooks2_naacp_051714_ap_606

Black Leaders Endorse Cornell William Brooks as NAACP President & CEO

In the days following the announcement by the NAACP National Board of Directors that Cornell William Brooks would be the Association’s next National President and CEO, Black leaders from across the country have rallied beh...
by Kristal High
1

 
 
momanddaughter-pano_25958

What America’s Telecommunications Leaders Can Teach Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley is the leading hub for high-tech innovation and development in the United States, while remaining highly competitive among the world’s most revered high-tech economic centers. Venture capital investment is stil...
by Kristal High
4

 




4 Comments


  1. Check out this piece from Friday’s Washington Post in a special section on Childhood obesity #onechildatatime
    http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-09-27/news/42437399_1_fighting-obesity-obese-children-overweight-children


  2. Darliene Howell

    I would like to recommend the free NAAFA Child Advocacy ToolkitSM (CATK) to assist you looking at programs. The total health of our nation’s children is a serious responsibility.

    The NAAFA Child Advocacy Toolkit shows how Health At Every Size® takes the focus off weight and directs it to healthful eating and enjoyable movement. It addresses bullying, building positive self-image and eliminating stigmatization of large children. Additionally, the CATK lists resources available to parents and educators or caregivers for educational materials, curriculum and programming that is beneficial for all children. It can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/7ma5bml



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>