Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Collaborative Effort to Fight Childhood Obesity

In Aggieland on Monday, I met with some of the leaders in the fight against childhood obesity. We brainstormed on ways to tackle the growing obesity problem in the Lone Star State.

Bill Ludwig, U.S. Department of Agriculture Southwest Region Administrator for Food Nutrition Services, coordinated the round-table discussion that included representatives from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, Texas AgriLife Extension Family and Consumer Sciences, the Agatston Research Foundation and The OrganWise Guys health education program . We shared ideas on how to decrease obesity rates among our younger generations, and I am excited to say there are already some great efforts underway to help combat this terrible epidemic.

As you may already know, Texas ranks sixth in the nation in childhood obesity, and in 2005 Texas businesses spent an estimated $3.3 billion on costs related to obesity. This is a trend we must change.

Although Texas schools are already doing an outstanding job of fighting obesity, the realty is we are losing our children after school, during the weekends and in the summers. Through a collaborative effort we can all help Texas children by encouraging them to adopt the 3Es of Healthy Living: Education, Exercise and Eating right. These components are critical to winning the war on obesity.

The upcoming legislative session will give us many opportunities to make gains in our fight against obesity. To find out more about TDA’s request to the state legislature to implement healthy lifestyles for Texas children, visit www.tda.state.tx.us and look for the link on the right called Legislative Appropriations Request.

TDA appreciates all our partners and their investment in healthy lifestyles, and I hope we can work together to improve Texans’ health and end this obesity crisis.

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