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Walking Fights Obesity

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For big problems, like obesity in America, solutions can come in small steps like the “walking school bus.”

Walking to school has always been good exercise for kids but now it’s not as safe as it once was. Parents throughout the United States are discovering if they lead walks to school and pick up kids along the way, walking to school can make a comeback.

Simple programs like this as well as major government policy on obesity will be on the agenda at the 8th annual Southern Obesity Summit October 5-7 in Louisville, Kentucky. www.southernobesitysummit.org

National Institutes of Health photo.
National Institutes of Health photo.

Michelle Smith, Texas-based director of the Southern Obesity Prevention Strategy & Summit, said some 350 participants from primarily government, health institutions and academia are expected to gather to learn new anti-obesity strategies and report on the progress of ongoing programs. See the summit website for a list of attendees.

Participants this year might consider recruiting mayors to lead some “walking school buses” to gain community attention for this program. They could discuss how to find funding to improve sidewalks, and street lighting.

The obesity strategy and summit was organized around states in the South because statistics last year show the South has the highest prevalence of obesity (30.2%), followed by the Midwest (30.1%), the Northeast (26.5%), and the West (24.9%). The most obese are African American women over age 20. Their obesity rate is 57.6 per cent compared to 37.9 per cent in African American men over age 20.

 

 

States with 25 to 30% of self-reported obesity.

Virginia, North Carolina, Florida.

States with 30 to 35% self-reported obesity.

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