Advocates Seek Creation of Obesity Task Force in San Luis Obispo County
Public health advocates on Monday petitioned the San Luis Obispo County Health Commission to create a county obesity task force, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports. About 40% of 3- to 5-year olds in the county are overweight or "very close to being overweight," and the majority of county students cannot meet state fitness standards, according to the Tribune.
County Public Health Department officials have a stated goal by 2009 of reducing by 5% the number of children ages 3 to 5 who are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight.
Dayna Ravalin, a registered dietician who works for the county, said the county will work to teach parents and day care workers how to instill nutrition and exercise habits in young children.
In addition, the Economic Opportunity Commission of San Luis Obispo County and local school districts are highlighting the importance of eating nutritious foods (Welton, San Luis Obispo Tribune, 9/14).
In related news, two newspapers recently published editorials addressing nutrition, exercise and obesity. Summaries appear below.
Fresno Bee: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) will host a summit on nutrition and obesity in Sacramento on Thursday, which "could be his chance to tackle this issue in a big way, particularly for the state's children," a Bee editorial states. Schwarzenegger "is the perfect messenger to revive the old Progressive Era agenda for physical education," the editorial concludes (Fresno Bee, 9/14).
- Long Beach Press-Telegram: The increase in obesity rates was not created in schools, but "at least California's public schools may soon cease to be part of the problem," a Press-Telegram editorial states, noting that Schwarzenegger is expected to sign legislation that would limit snack food sales at public schools. The editorial states, "The Legislature and governor should not stop at restricting junk food sales," concluding, "Finding ways to restore and enhance physical education programs in California's schools must be the next goal" (Long Beach Press-Telegram, 9/13).