July 22, 2004  


Granger and Hoyer Team Up To Battle Childhood Obesity


Congresswoman Kay Granger (R – TX) and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D – MD) introduced the "Childhood Obesity Reduction Act" today in the House of Representatives to create a two-year Congressional Council to address one of the most pressing health epidemics facing America – juvenile obesity.

"Obesity is rapidly becoming one of the most pervasive health threats on our society," said Granger. "Intervention in our schools today will equip young people with needed resources and knowledge so they may have healthier and happier tomorrows. Obesity has affected more than just our nation’s health; it’s expanded our budget waistlines as well."

"If we could prevent more childhood obesity, we could drastically improve the health of our nation, and reduce the incidence of diabetes and other chronic conditions," said Congressman Hoyer. "This bill will make an investment in the health and happiness of our young people by targeting this epidemic in our schools."

The Congressional Council on Childhood Obesity would consist of eight-members and would include House and Senate Majority and Minority leaders or their designees, and four experts in child health, nutrition, or physical activity who will work to increase physical activity and encourage better nutritional choices in young people.

The Childhood Obesity Reduction Act would allow the Council to work with elementary and intermediate schools to develop and evaluate plans that reduce and prevent childhood obesity. The Council would also highlight successful obesity reduction plans and would provide critical support to schools that seek to participate in these plans.

Schools that have promoted successful, innovative strategies for obesity prevention or reduction after the two-year evaluation will be rewarded with grants for strategy implementation.

This bill would authorize $2.2 million in fiscal year 2005 to establish the Council. More than 15 percent of American children and teens ages six through nineteen are overweight, nearly twice the percentage of the early 1970s.

Being overweight or obese increases risks for heart disease and cancer – the two leading causes of death. These conditions also increase risk for diabetes and musculoskeletal disorders, such as osteoarthritis.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R – TN) and Senator Ron Wyden (D – OR) introduced the Senate version of the Childhood Obesity Reduction Act in June.