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Business, Government Leaders Pledge Unity in Battle Against Childhood Obesity

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Photo by Robb D. Cohen/ www.RobbsPhotos.com

ATLANTA (Wednesday, March 27, 2013) — Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic in Georgia –– one Wednesday’s event “United Against Childhood Obesity,” hosted at the state Capitol, sought to address.

More than 30 organizations joined forces at the event to demonstrate a unified commitment among the public, private and non-profit sector to work towards a healthier future for Georgia’s youth.

Government officials, business leaders and non-profit leaders turned out to share programs, initiatives and ideas that range from government action to community involvement, all with one goal in mind –– putting a stop to the upward trend of childhood obesity.

Equally distressing, in recent tests administered by the Governor’s Student Health and Physical Education Partnership (SHAPE) –– a Department of Public Health initiative dedicated to improving the state’s childhood obesity problem –– only one in five children were able to pass basic tests of physical fitness. Nearly a million children, representing 97 percent of the state’s schools, took the test last year.

“The data we’ve seen in recent years is more than troubling — it’s a wake-up call for both families and institutions like ours to take action,” said Pat Willis, executive director for Voices for Georgia’s Children, which organized Wednesday’s event. “We need to re-examine our personal habits and our institutional practices and policies to help children be healthier and fit.”

United Against Childhood Obesity’s Day at the Capitol brought together a vast array of organizations and speakers –– including exhibits from SHAPE and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta with appearances by Governor Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, Commissioner of Public Health; Bobby Cagle, Commissioner of the Department of Early Care and Learning; Doug Joiner, Atlanta Regional Network Manager for Georgia Safe Routes; Kathy Kuzava, President of the Georgia Food Industry Association; and Dr. Jim Lidstone, Director of Live Healthy Baldwin –– with the intent of fostering relationships, and using this melting pot of knowledge to tackle the complex issue of childhood obesity on multiple fronts.

“Directly educating and engaging children in healthy habits is just one part of the solution,” Willis said. “ It’s exciting to see the food industry, community development and transportation all recognize their role in reducing child obesity. That makes them all child advocates.”

For more information about this event, check out some of these articles:

http://thegrio.com/2013/03/27/georgia-residents-unite-to-fight-childhood-obesity-epidemic-in-state/

http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/government/2013-03-27/georgia-agencies-cooperate-obesity-campaign

http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/story/21805059/groups-plan-rally-against-ga-childhood-obesity

For additional photos from the event, check our Facebook, Smugmug (you can upload your own photos here as well) and Flickr!

Our Partners:

Alliance for a Healthier Generation

Alliance of Boys and Girls Club of Georgia

American Academy of Pediatrics – Georgia Chapter

American Heart Association

Amerigroup Community Care

Atlanta Regional Health Forum

Bright from the Start: Department of Early Care and Learning

Center Helping Obesity in Children End Successfully, Inc. (CHOICES)

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Strong4Life

Georgia Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics

Georgia Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance

Georgia Beverage Association

Georgia Coalition for Physical Activity and Nutrition (GPAN)

Georgia Department of Agriculture

Georgia Department of Community Health – State Health Benefits Plan

Georgia Department of Education School Nutrition Division

Georgia Department of Public Health

Georgia Food Bank Association

Georgia Food Industry Association

Georgia Health Policy Center /Georgia Food Policy Council

Georgia Restaurant Association

Georgia Safe Routes to School Resource Center

Georgia State University – Policy Leadership for Active Youth (PLAY)

HealthMPowers, Inc.

Hemophilia of Georgia

Hispanic Health Coalition of Georgia

Live Healthy Baldwin

Quality Care for Children

Safe Routes to School National Partnership

United Way of Greater Atlanta

University of Georgia Obesity Initiative

YMCA

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