Oregon leads way in battling childhood obesity

By Observer editorial May 20, 2010 12:50 pm
Face it. We’re a nation of couch potatoes. While Oregon’s ranking of No. 1 in battling childhood obesity is good news, the state needs to continue working to do even better.

Oregon was the skinniest state in a recent study. Just under 10 percent of Oregon children ages 10 to 17 years are obese. Mississippi was the fattest state with more than 20 percent of its children falling into the obese range. Still, 10 percent is not good enough. The federal Healthy People 2010 initiative set a childhood obesity goal of 5 percent.

What needs to be done? First, kids and their adult role models need to quit eating and drinking junk. We need to quit being entranced so often by the bright lights of the fast food franchises. We need to use our sidewalks and walk to school or work, more. We need to turn off the television, more, and shut down the video games, more, and incorporate activities into our lives that burn calories.

We need the schools, and businesses too, to put a higher priority on nutrition and physical exercise. If businesses realized what benefits there are from regular exercise, from fewer sick days to increased productivity, they would make physical fitness a job requirement. Schools need to continue putting healthy food choices in front of the students, and educating them on a healthy lifestyle that can last a lifetime.

Oregon and the rest of the nation need to continue making strides to battle not only childhood but also adult obesity, to reduce medical costs, if nothing else. Oregonians should celebrate the state’s No. 1 ranking in battling childhood obesity by serving up a good salad, turning off the TV and taking a brisk walk.