One would be hard pressed to find a member of the general public that wasn’t aware that childhood obesity is a major problem in the Valley. And while the causes — poverty levels, dietary habits, lack of exercise, to name a few — seem to be well-known, the problem persists and has continued to rise over time.
Last year, a University of California, Los Angeles, Center for Health Policy Research and the state Center for Public Health Advocacy study reported that 46 percent of fifth-, seventh- and ninth-grade students in the Valley were obese or overweight.
Centers for Disease Control-funded childhood obesity study that is in the process of getting under way in the Valley is looking to involve different parts of the community in imaginative ways.
The study will build off the recent successes of community-based initiatives such as community gardens and fitness programs, and also hopes to further identify and develop strategies to help combat the problem.
Officials involved with the implementation of the study, which is supposed to conclude in 2015, have stated that an effort will be made to reach out to local restaurants, school districts and retail stores such as supermarkets.
In the case of local eateries, the aim is to get them to modify recipes and menus that target children in a way that provides more nutritious fare.
Another initiative would involve reaching out to local school districts to see what can be done about limiting children’s access to unhealthy foods.
We’re told this may involve prohibiting or limiting soft drinks or food vendors from campuses.
And in the case of retail stores, discussions are expected to focus on whether something can be done about displays found at the end of aisles that work wonders on stoking a child’s appetite.
While the ultimate success of the above-mentioned initiatives isn’t certain, the possibility of them gaining traction in the Valley raises our hopes.
Childhood obesity study aims to change.
Comprehensive strategy needed to combat problem.
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