For Immediate Release
CONGRESSWOMAN FUDGE INTRODUCES BILL AIMED AT COMBATING CHILDHOOD OBESITY,
WITH FOCUS ON MINORITY COMMUNITIES
WASHINGTON, DC-- For the second year in a row, Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) has introduced legislation aimed at combating childhood obesity. Fit for Life, H.R. 2795, is a comprehensive approach to addressing the obesity crisis by improving the quality of and access to food, advancing preventative measures, expanding treatment of obesity in children and encouraging physical activity in underserved communities.
"One in three children are obese or overweight, and, for the first time in history, this generation is on track to have a shorter life span than their parents. Unfortunately, for some children, where they grow up determines how well and how long they live. Under-served communities, like many areas in Cleveland, are plagued with food deserts and neighborhoods with limited access to fresh foods. Children in the inner-city don't have safe places to exercise. This bill addresses many of the factors that impact the high rate of obesity specifically in minority communities," said Congresswoman Fudge.
The legislation has support from more than 20 organizations, including the American College of Sports Medicine, American Beverage Association, and America SCORES Cleveland. It was cosponsored by Rep. Donna Christensen (Virgin Islands), Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-9), and Rep. Donald Payne (NJ-10).
"The country spends almost $150 billion per year to treat obesity-related conditions in adults. Costs due to excess weight during childhood are estimated at $3 billion per year, yet it's estimated that 80 percent of overweight adolescents grow up to be obese adults. This bill addresses excess costs through preventative measures and altering external circumstances to reduce the number of children who will become obese, therefore reducing the likelihood they will become obese adults," said Congresswoman Fudge.
This legislation tackles the lack of supermarkets in underserved communities by creating a program to award grants to local partnerships to establish or enhance existing supermarkets that sell fresh fruits and produce in low income communities located in food deserts. It expands the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, by amending the National School Lunch Act, to include secondary schools, child care centers, and family child care homes, while increasing access to the Summer Food Service Programs for Children. View a summary of the bill attached.
"We talk extensively about the health of the country we will leave our children, but what about the health of the children we will leave our country? We encourage our kids to prosper, but too many of them will not be healthy enough to fight in the military, or will be overburdened with diseases like type II diabetes and high blood pressure when they grow up."
Congresswoman Fudge also introduced H.R. 339 earlier this year; the bill designates September 2012 as Childhood Obesity Awareness month. Click here for more information.