Healthy Schools Summit Report

This just in from PR Newswire. I quote verbatim from the first half of the press release, which is titled, "Childhood Obesity: A Serious Challenge That Demands Serious Response, Frist Tells Healthy Schools Summit 2005 — New School Wellness Policy Requirements Can Transform School Health, Sen. Harkin Says."

"WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 /PRNewswire/ — Calling childhood obesity a "problem of epic proportions," U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) today applauded attendees at the Healthy Schools Summit 2005 for their grassroots efforts to improve nutrition and physical activity in the nation’s schools. "This is a serious challenge that demands a serious response," Frist said.

"The Healthy Schools Summit is a gathering of 600 local leaders from all 50 states and the District of Columbia who are part of Action for Healthy Kids, a non-profit organization addressing the epidemic of overweight, undernourished and sedentary youth by focusing on changes at school. First Lady Mrs. Laura Bush is honorary chair of the Summit.

"The federal government can and must support your work, recognize excellence, and encourage proven strategies to address childhood obesity," Frist told the group. "The government can’t be at every dinner table in America. It can’t be on the sidelines of every grade school gym. That’s why we need you. We need actions that can be implemented in every community in the country," he said.

"First cited estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that one out of every three children born in America in 2000 will develop diabetes. The problem is even worse in minority communities, he said. "Half of the African-American and Hispanic babies born in 2000 will be afflicted (by diabetes) in their lifetime. That’s a disease for which there is no cure, it irreversible. And it’s compounded by a host of chronic ailments — kidney disease, heart disease, blindness," Frist said.

"U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) also lauded the Summit attendees and urged them to continue pushing for changes in schools across the country. "We need to return to the days when our public schools were special places, commercial- free zones that fed our children nutritious food, and saw to it that recess and physical education were a part of every school day. Schools should be a sanctuary, not just another marketplace hawking junk food and sugary sodas," Harkin said.

Get a complete program agenda for the Healthy Schools Summit 2005 at the Action for Healthy Kids website.

Let’s just hope that all this wonderful rhetoric translates into something viable and effective.