March 1, 2006  


Granger and Hoyer Team Up to Battle Childhood Obesity


WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX) and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) reintroduced the “Childhood Obesity Reduction Act” (H.R. 4860) 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 to our society,” said Granger. “We now have 15 percent of our children considered to be obese. This is a huge red flag signaling a major problem that needs addressing. Intervention in our schools will equip young people with the knowledge to prevent obesity and live healthier and happier lives.”

“America loves to think of itself as a youthful nation focused on fitness,” said Hoyer. “But behind the exciting media images of robust athletes and Olympic dream teams is a troubling reality. Statistics portray a generation of young people that are, in large measure, inactive, unfit, eating poorly, and at an alarming rate, becoming obese.”

The Congressional Council on Childhood Obesity would consist of eight members, including House and Senate Majority and Minority leaders or their designees, and four experts in child health, nutrition, or physical activity who evaluate and develop plans for elementary and middle schools 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 will be rewarded with grants for strategy implementation. This bill would authorize $2.2 million in fiscal year 2007 to establish the Council.

More than 15 percent of American children and teens ages six through 19 are overweight, which is quadruple the rate of the early 1970s. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of 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 last June.