Report: 108K Virginia youth are obese

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Photo Credit: niroworld

In Virginia, 108,000 young people ages 10 to 17 have obesity, according to the newest data released Thursday.

The obesity rate in Virginia for this age group, 13.2 percent, has held steady in recent years and ranks as the 34th highest in the nation. The data come from the 2017 and 2018 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), along with analysis conducted by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Nationwide, 4.8 million young people ages 10 to 17, or 15.3 percent, have obesity.

The data are included in State of Childhood Obesity: Helping All Children Grow up Healthy, a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). This first-ever report includes the best available data on national and state childhood obesity rates, policies that can help address the epidemic, and features stories about local communities taking action. The full release, including videos and interactive data features, can be found at www.stateofchildhoodobesity.org.

“These new data show that this challenge touches the lives of far too many children in this country, and that Black and Hispanic youth are still at greater risk than their White and Asian peers,” said Richard Besser, MD, president and CEO of RWJF. “The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is committed to reducing the rates of childhood obesity across the nation. We know it won’t be easy, or quick. We know it will require policy changes at every level of government, and we’re working alongside others to implement shifts that will make it easier for kids and their families to be healthy.” Over roughly the last decade, RWJF has committed more than $1 billion to helping all children grow up at a healthy weight.

RWJF includes several policy recommendations in the report that would help ensure more children in the United States have consistent access to healthy foods from the earliest days of life, in order to help them grow up at a healthy weight.

Among the recommendations:

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture should rescind proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, that would cause millions of participants to lose their benefits. Nearly one-thirdof children age 4 or younger participate in SNAP in a given month.
  • USDA should maintain nutrition standards for school meals that were in effect prior to December 2018, and current nutrition standards for school snacks.
  • As USDA revises the food package for WIC, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, all recommendations should be scientifically based.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) should have adequate resources to provide grants to all 50 states to implement multi-sector campaigns to address obesity.
  • State policymakers should allow cities and counties the flexibility to regulate, tax or otherwise enact strong legislation related to children’s health and healthy communities.

 



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