FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 27, 2014
Contact: Andy Fountain
(202) 265-5111

Findings reinforce the need for policies to reduce childhood obesity

WASHINGTON—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced that obesity rates among two- to five-year olds have dropped by 43 percent over the past decade. Leadership for Healthy Communities, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, recognizes the significance of these findings and applauds the countless efforts of policy-makers, community leaders, parents, and school officials nationwide who are dedicated to reducing and preventing childhood obesity.

“We have been working for many years to get to a point where we are seeing these significant signs of progress,” said Maya Rockeymoore, Ph.D., director of Leadership for Healthy Communities. “But as exciting and encouraging as these results are to us, we must remember that too many of our children still live in neighborhoods where making healthy choices—such as buying a banana or walking to school—is difficult. This is especially true in low-income and rural communities and in communities of color.”

More than 23.5 million children and adolescents in the United States—nearly one in three young people—are either overweight or obese, putting them at higher risk for serious, even life-threatening health problems. However, lower obesity rates are being documented in some states and cities that have implemented comprehensive policies to address obesity.

“We’re seeing positive results, but we cannot rest on our laurels,” said Rockeymoore. “We must continue to support policies at the federal, state and local level that work to reduce and prevent childhood obesity.”

Leadership for Healthy Communities is currently working with six national policy-maker associations to support state and local leaders in their efforts to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic: AASA, The School Superintendents Association; Local Government Commission; National Association of County and City Health Officials; National Conference of State Legislatures; U.S. Conference of Mayors; and Women in Government.

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Leadership for Healthy Communities is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation designed to support local and state government leaders nationwide in their efforts to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic through public policies that promote active living, healthy eating and access to healthy foods. For more information, visit www.leadershipforhealthycommunities.org.

Center for Global Policy Solutions serves as the National Program Office for Leadership for Healthy Communities, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation designed to support local and state government leaders nationwide in their efforts to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic through public policies that promote active living, healthy eating and access to healthy foods.