On Tuesday March 13, the Pima County Board of Supervisors passed Resolution 2012-16 “recognizing the serious public health impacts of excessive weight or obesity, and pledging strenuous and ongoing efforts to improve opportunities to make health nutrition and activity choices and combat this epidemic”.
A Healthy Pima conference on obesity at the Westin La Paloma was held today entitled “The Why’s and How’s of Pima County CPPW”. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more that 35% of adults and 17% of youths (90 million Americans) are considered obese. This Pima County CPPW (Community Putting Prevention to Work) was one of 44 CDC grants nationwide. This two-year $16 million grant chaired by Dr. Donald Gates involved several community partners throughout Pima County. Dr. Gates called obesity a “staggering national issue”, with childhood obesity increasing 3 x in the last 3 decades.
A morning panel composed of several of the partners included Sara Padilla, program mgr. for CPPW Community Food Security Coalition; Armando Rios, Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson; Jim Mazzocco, Planning Administrator of the City of Tucson; Andrea Lightfoot, Employer Relations Specialist, NW Heathcare; Dr.Nicholas Clement, Superintendent for Flowing Wells School District. Each of the panelists spoke of how the grant had been administered in each of their areas respectively — food access & security, neighborhood after-school programs for students, changes in the City’s land use code, best practices for workplace wellness, and within a school district.
There were also several workshops on:
Healthy Choices in a School Setting for Students and Parents
Implementing Healthy Changes in a Childcare Setting
Improving Access to Healthy Food through Farmer’s Markets and Gardens
Prevention and Wellness in Faith-Based Organizations
Neighborhood Action Projects
Creating a Healthier Built Environment in Schools
Policy Changes that Make Healthy Living Easier *
Healthy Choices in a School Setting for Teachers and Administrators
Youth Development Efforts and Promoting Healthy Choices
Promoting Wellness in the Workplace and Health and Service Organizations
Using the Media to Create Awareness via a Public Education Campaign *
Creating a Healthier Environment in Neighborhoods and Community Centers *
Engaging the Community to Create Health-Focused Policies
*workshops I attended
Today’s Healthy Pima conference on obesity had invited the 18th Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin, MD, MBA to speak but she was unable to attend. Former 3 term Mayor Bob Walkup was the keynote luncheon speaker and spoke of the Healthy Mayor’s Initiative he began almost 10 years ago, and how we must continue to educate our children about healthy food & exercise options “to do right by our children, for the future.”
All one has to do is look around town and see all the obese people (men, women, children) and know that there is an “epidemic” of sorts going on. The problem is lack of education about nutrition, the availability of junk foods, super-sized portions, the lack of an agrarian society & more leisure time, and less exercise options — most of which were discussed today.
A 20 minute video “The Choices We Make, the Choices We Have” was shown at the conference as well, which highlighted the various projects throughout the two year grant period.
Efforts to continue the work past this grant are being advocated through the Pima County Health Dept. website, www.healthypima.org, and through ongoing farmer’s markets at schools & in the neighborhoods, and other agencies in Pima County.
So let us join this community-wide effort to make healthy choices, and combat obesity in Pima County. Eat healthy & keep active!