First Lady Gayle Manchin, who is also the Chair of the West Virginia Healthy Lifestyles Coalition and Chair of both the West Virginia State Board of Education’s Wellness Committee and National Association of the State Board of Education’s Wellness Committee, today released the following statement after National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) released a report today recognizing West Virginia’s progress in preventing childhood obesity and encouraging healthy lifestyles:
“During the past few years, we have had great progress in creating and implementing healthy lifestyles initiatives, which helped to increase physical education in our schools and give better nutritious foods to our children. In addition, we offer a comprehensive wellness check for all incoming kindergarteners in public schools, a major accomplishment that will help to identify at-risk children.
“So I was thrilled to see that First Lady Michelle Obama is taking childhood obesity prevention as her initiative on the national level. She understands that many states have already been diligently working to address and educate its residents about the importance of healthy habits, including a balance diet and regular exercise. Her support will surely help the individual states gain more coverage and support, and this will help to further more wellness initiatives. I appreciate her support on such an important cause.
“Even though we still have more work to do in our state, we are working together to address this serious problem. It is critical that all levels - parents, educators, public officials and health care providers - continue to work together to promote wellness, look for innovative ways to help our kids so they grow into healthy citizens and educate others on the importance of leading active, healthy lives. We are all in this together and I am excited to work with First Lady Obama as well as with fellow West Virginians to continue to address healthy lifestyle initiatives.”
- First Lady Gayle Manchin
PLEASE NOTE: The entire NGA press release that was distributed today follows.
March 4, 2010
Contact: Erin Munley, 202-624-7787
STATES TAKING STEPS TO FIGHT CHILDHOOD OBESITY
New NGA Center Report Profiles 15 States’ Efforts to Shape a Healthier America
WASHINGTON-Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, and today, nearly 23 million – or one in three – American children are overweight or obese.
Through the Healthy Kids, Healthy America program, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) supported 15 states as they worked to develop policies to prevent childhood obesity. The recognizable progress of each of these states is detailed in a new report released today, Shaping a Healthier Generation: Healthy Kids, Healthy America State Profiles of Progress.
Started by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and the NGA Center in 2005, Healthy Kids, Healthy America was a state-led program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It supported the development and implementation of state-level policies and programs to prevent childhood obesity and make it easier for children and families to lead healthier, more active lives-at home, work, school and in their communities.
“For years, governors around the country have been committed to improving the health of the nation’s children and preventing childhood obesity,” said NGA Center Director John Thomasian. “Most good solutions are local. The states profiled in this report are using innovative policies and practices, which are showing progress in fighting this epidemic.”
The strategies of the 15 states fall into three main categories: child care settings; policy planning and prioritization; and school-based efforts. State projects highlighted in the report include:
Child Care Settings
• Kentucky: developed policies to increase physical activity and improve nutrition choices among preschoolers and after-school youth
• Tennessee: developed a branding campaign, the Gold Sneaker Initiative, to establish high-quality physical activity and nutrition policies within licensed child care facilities
Policy Planning and Prioritization
• Michigan: created an executive-level workgroup to develop a five-year policy agenda and transition workgroup efforts to an independent coalition
• Minnesota: conducted a statewide survey of current policies and programs and developed a five-year policy action plan to prevent childhood obesity
• Mississippi: established the Governor’s Task Force on Childhood Obesity to develop policy recommendations for coordinated child wellness across all agencies, held a statewide policy summit and developed a blueprint for future childhood obesity policy
• New Mexico: created a special advisor position to the Secretary of Health to centralize state health efforts to improve children’s health, coordinate the Governor’s Interagency Task Force on Obesity and launched a pilot of childhood wellness program in a local community
• Indiana: implemented a wellness pilot combining classroom instruction with an online nutrition and physical activity programTo learn more about Healthy Kids, Healthy America and other NGA Center Health Division initiatives, visit www.nga.org/center/health.
• Louisiana: focused on improving school wellness policy implementation across the state
• New York: developed guidelines for nutrition and physical activity programs in afterschool programs
• Rhode Island: focused on school wellness policies and providing 100 percent of schools with technical assistance
• South Dakota: awarded mini-grants to a dozen schools, districts and out-of-time school programs to improve nutrition and physical activity policy
• Utah: created teacher training programs for non-food incentives and increasing physical activity time
• Virginia: focused on improving the health habits of at-risk students via state assessments of nutrition, physical activity and fitness
• West Virginia: started a comprehensive wellness check for all incoming kindergarteners in public schools
• Wisconsin: established an award program to drive policy changes in schools statewide
Sara Payne Scarbro