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Memorandum February 29, 2012 From: Ashley Francis, To: Diane Helentjaris, MD Director, Office of Family Health Services

at Virginia Department of Health Re: Childhood Obesity Coalition ______________________________________________________________________ Regarding our conversation last Wednesday, the following memo highlights the progress made by the Richmond Childhood Obesity Coalition. Our coalition is working to create a campaign which strives to effectively reduce the incidence of overweight and obese children in the city of Richmond. Currently, our coalition is comprised of the following three members: myself; [INSERT NAME], Head of the State Board of Education; and [INSERT NAME], Urban Programs Director of Special Olympics VA. We are in the process of recruiting additional members that meet the following descriptions: physician/pediatrician, dietitian/nutritionist, media relations specialist, public relations specialist, and several community advocates. We are open to additional suggestions as we continue to work through the recruitment process. Background: It is a well known fact that childhood obesity is a growing issue facing our country. This epidemic is inescapable in the media, yet, little progress has been made. Nationwide, 17% of children ages 2-19 are overweight or obese. In our state, 24%-33% of youth are overweight or obese. Virginia specific data describing youth ages 10-17 is presented below: - 28% of youth in Southwest, VA are overweight or obese (highest regional rate). - 17% of youth in Central, VA are overweight or obese (lowest regional rate). - There is a lower prevalence of obesity among girls (17%) as compared with boys (27%) - White (non-hispanic) youth are at a lower risk (19%) as compared with minority youth (26%) Many factors have been found to be associated with having an increased risk of becoming overweight or obese. The CDC describes in detail the following issues as contributing to the growing epidemic: - Increased intake of sugar drinks, high calorie foods, and serving sizes. - Decreased availability of healthy options due to affordability and/or local options. - Increased advertisement of lower nutrition foods. - Lack of safe/appealing exercise space, resources, and/or structured physical activity programs at school.

Health Communication - Brief

Susan Ashley Francis

- Increased television exposure time. The national youth average is 4.5 hours of television time per day. In Virginia specifically, the following trends have been documented in youth ages 10-17: - Youth report 2 or more hours of television per day. - 33% of youth reported playing video games for over 2 hours each day. - 66% of youth reported exercising for 1 hour or more each day. - 4% of youth met fruit and vegetable intake requirements established by the USDA. Progress: Our coalition meets once each week and also communicates via email throughout the week. Additionally, we have conducted one weekend meeting at a local Starbucks. Currently, we are planning our campaign using the CDCsynergy program and it!s respective templates. We are nearing the end of phase two and are excited to begin phase three over the next two weeks. We have reviewed the current research, and at this time are exploring past campaigns to more closely examine their successes/shortcomings. Initially, we made the decision to focus on physical activity interventions; however, our focus may shift as a result of research findings. The decision has been made that our target audience will be children ages 6-11 and regardless of selected avenue (diet or physical activity), we aim to improve self-efficacy. In an effort to learn more about our target audience (and also secondary audiences), five focus groups were conducted. The following audiences were interviewed: children ages 7-9 (overweight/obese and normal weight), parents (of overweight/obese and normal weight children), and school officials/faculty members. We strived to assess availability of resources, availability of healthy options, availability of safe exercise spaces, self-efficacy, perception of risk, in addition to current physical activity levels and dietary behaviors. We are excited to begin reviewing our findings and utilizing this information during planning! Action Step: With your approval, I would like to continue the work described above. Please initial below, indicating your response. Yes ____________ No ____________

Health Communication - Brief

Susan Ashley Francis