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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month: Let's focus on the solutions

Throughout September, DC SCORES is focusing on National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month -- the problem and numbers both locally and nationally, and what we, other organizations, foundations, and school districts are doing to combat it. We'll have more blog posts, daily Tweets, Facebook posts and LinkedIn updates throughout September. We encourage you to join the conversation. 


Written by Amy Nakamoto
Executive Director

Here is what we know as common sense — to be productive and active thinkers and contributors (to work, to school, to society), it helps dramatically if we take care of ourselves and are healthy.

Here is what we know about kids — they need to move. Oxygen feeds young brains, gets energy out in the right ways, helps them focus, and importantly, sets the stage for a lifetime of moving, exercising, and seeking out other fitness- or sport-related things.

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month — a month dedicated to highlighting the trend, but more importantly, the solution to reversing the trend. I will not turn this blog into a dissertation on the topic, but we will spend the month highlighting through our blog and other social media channels the national and local trends, resources and recommendations. And, what DC SCORES is doing to help over 1,450 kids with our after-school program.

We know that obese children and adolescents have a greater risk of social and psychological problems, such as discrimination and poor self-esteem, which can continue into adulthood. We also know that by 2030, obesity-related health care costs in the District of Columbia could climb by 18.8 percent, which could be the 15th highest increase in the country.

This list can go on and on . . . and frankly, it’s frightening — and wrong. Our young people deserve better. Childhood obesity rates are much higher for low-income, non-white youth living in urban centers. This is true in DC.

Please tune into DC SCORES’ blog this month for a series on this topic, and also make sure you are aware of the governing law in DC to combat this, the Healthy Schools Act.

I will leave you with this statistic for now … If BMIs were lowered by 5 percent, the District of Columbia could save 6.7 percent in health care costs, which would equate to savings of $1,026,000,000 by 2030 — it’s mathematically detailed here.

More to come…

Amy Nakamoto
Executive Director, DC SCORES
Member of the Mayor’s Healthy Youth and Schools Commission

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