once considered to be “adult” illnesses,such as type
diabetes and highblood pressure.Obesity also poses a tremendousnancial threat to our economy and ourhealth care system. It’s estimated thatadult obesity costs our nation as much as$
billion per year in medical expenses.Childhood obesity alone carries a hugeprice tag—up to $
billion per year indirect health care costs.By reversing the epidemic o childhoodobesity, we will make our nation healthier,save lives, ease the nancial strain on ourhealth care system and increase economicproductivity or the next generation o American workers.
WHAT CAUSES CHILDHOOD OBESITY?
In the simplest terms, childhood obesity results rom energy imbalance—childrenconsuming more calories than they burn.Te latest research shows that theenvironments in which we live and thepublic policies our leaders enact directly impact the oods our children eat andhow much activity they get. When schoolshave healthy oods and beverages in theircaeterias and vending machines, studentseat better. When communities have parksand sidewalks in their neighborhoodsand strong physical education programsin their schools, children are more active. When there are nearby supermarketsand armers’ markets that sell aordablehealthy oods, amilies eat more nutritiously.But when communities are dominatedby ast ood and oer ew places to play,children eat worse and are less active, andtheir health suers. Ultimately, we allpay a price, in higher health care costs,increased school absenteeism and reducedeconomic growth.
WHAT WE FUND
RWJF unds eorts at the local, state andederal level to change public policiesand community environments in waysthat promote improved nutrition andincreased physical activity—both o whichare critical to reversing the childhoodobesity epidemic. In particular, we ocuson six policy priorities that the evidencesuggests will have the greatest and longest-lasting impact on our children. Tesepriorities can be supported by numerousapproaches. Some are listed below, butthese are only a handul o examples—there are many promising ways to achievesuccess. Te priorities are:
Ensure that all oods and beveragesserved and sold in schools meet or exceedthe most recent Dietary Guidelines or Americans.
Junk ood has no place in ourschools, whether it’s served in caeterias;sold in vending machines, school storesor through undraisers; or given away asclassroom treats or rewards.o help promote healthier oods andincreased physical activity in schools,RWJF has supported the Healthy SchoolsProgram since its inception. Te programis an initiative o the Alliance or aHealthier Generation, which was oundedby the American Heart Association and William J. Clinton Foundation. As parto its comprehensive approach to helpingeducators make their schools healthierplaces to learn and work, the Alliancebrokered an agreement in
with the American Beverage Association and thenation’s top three beverage companiesto reduce sugar-sweetened beverages inschools. According to an independentevaluation o the agreement, there hasbeen an
percent reduction in beveragecalories shipped to schools since
, the Foundation unded amultimillion-dollar expansion o theHealthy Schools Program to target states with the highest rates o obesity. Teprogram now provides support to schoolsin all
states and reaches more than
schools either in person or online.Te Foundation also is working with TePew Charitable rusts to ensure that thestrongest ederal nutrition guidelines areapplied to all oods and beverages servedand sold in schools.
I we don’tthe current gento live
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