|April 23, 2003|
– State and National leaders championing healthier lifestyles for Texas’ children today announced the formation of the Texas Coalition for a Healthy and Active America. The new non-profit, grassroots organization is committed to educating parents, children, schools and communities about the critical roles physical activity and nutrition education play in nurturing a balanced and healthy lifestyle and its importance in reversing the growing trend of childhood obesity.
The Texas Coalition is a part of the national Coalition for a Healthy and Active America. It is launched by an esteemed group of statewide founding members.
Texas founding members of the organization are:
Dr. William Klish Chief of Gastroenterology and Nutrition Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston
Jody Conradt University of Texas Women’s Basketball Coach Neva Cochran Registered Dietician Syndicated columnist for Women's Weekly
The Honorable Kay Granger Congresswoman (R-TX)
Dr. Bob Bonar CEO Children’s Hospital of Austin
Dr. Jeffrey Ross Podiatrist specializing in diabetes Chair of the Governor's Advisory Committee on Physical Fitness
Vanessa Richie Program Director San Antonio Sports Foundation
Sam Tipton Chairman Texas Girls’ Coaches Association
Dr. Leilani Cronin Kinesiologist Owner of Body Image, Inc
Linda New President Elect Texas Association of Health Underwriters
CHAA’s focus includes finding solutions to childhood obesity that are both realistic and responsible; working with schools to rededicate time for physical fitness; supporting parents’ freedom to help their children make their own nutritional choices; and, protecting model relationships between schools and communities that benefit families by supporting healthy and active lifestyles.
"The number of overweight children has doubled in the last 30 years. Currently 14% of Texas 9th-12th graders are overweight," said Dallas-based dietitian and syndicated nutrition columnist Neva Cochran. "But childhood obesity is a complex problem requiring realistic solutions. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution for overweight children. There are as many causes as there are kids."
Health experts agree that obesity is generally a combination of consuming too many calories as a whole and not burning enough calories through exercise.
"Obesity, lack of exercise, and diabetes has a detrimental impact on children's health," said Baylor College of Medicine professor Dr. Jeffrey Ross. "If we are not proactive now with this problem, we will see many children's life expectancies decrease, and for many of this generation unlikely to live as long as their parents. The time for action is now both for ourselves, as well as for future generations."
While the Surgeon General has recommended that children spend 60 minutes each day engaged in physical activity, it is estimated that only 25% of kids receive the recommended exercise each day. In fact, according to a recent Business Week report, today’s children spend more than 38 hours each week watching television, sitting in front of the computer or playing video games.
"My 27 years of experience have taught me that a balanced approach to eating combined with regular physical activity is the key to successfully losing and keeping weight off," said Cochran. CHAA believes the most effective results for battling childhood obesity will be accomplished by bringing parents, educators and local leaders together to design programs that meet individual communities’ individual needs.
"I strongly support the efforts of the Coalition for a Healthy and Active America," said Representative Kay Granger. "Obesity is one of our most preventable public health problems, but it is also one of our fastest rising, particularly among young people. Together, we can reverse the trend of poor nutrition and physical inactivity and have a leaner, healthier Texas."
For more information, please visit the national website at www.chaausa.org.