W.Va. slowly curbing childhood obesity
By The Associated Press
Published: Sunday, July 14, 2013, 5:27 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It has a long way to go, but West Virginia is starting to turn around the epidemic of childhood obesity.
More than 27 percent of the state's fifth-graders were considered obese in 2011. But at a recent Voices for Health Kids Conference, officials said that's a decline of 8.6 percent since 2005.
That makes West Virginia one of only five states showing a reversal.
The conference was organized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Heart Association.
West Virginia Public Broadcasting said Nebraska, California, North Carolina and New Mexico also have experienced drops in childhood obesity.
Though the rates are still high in West Virginia, experts say any improvements are worth celebrating.
“Considering childhood obesity has been a virtual tsunami, any reversal in any community is an exciting development,” said Bill Roach, chairman of an advisory committee to the Voices for Healthy Kids initiative.
“That's really why we wanted to bring these communities together in Washington,” he said, “to educate others as to how they've been able to do it. Now is an 8.6 percent reduction significant? We'd love to see a 90 percent reduction. But the point is, we're seeing a reversal in the trend.”
The Voices for Healthy Kids initiative aims to reverse the nation's childhood obesity epidemic by 2015.
Dr. Jamie Jeffrey of Charleston Area Medical Center said she wasn't trained in how to treat Type 2 diabetes 20 years ago, so she had to re-educate herself and learn how to tackle adult diseases in children.
“I had a 2-year-old patient that weighed over 100 pounds,” she said.
The child was too obese to walk, and she was on medication for sleep apnea.
“So it's really not only the number of kids affected but the severity of the disease,” Jeffery said.
West Virginia has taken several approaches to the problem, including requiring healthier meals in public schools, building parks and walking or biking paths, and supporting community gardens to grow more vegetables.
“This is the first sign that we have at least stabilized the epidemic,” Jeffrey said, “and now we need it to make a big U-turn.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 8 techie companies unite, seek curbs on snooping
- 18 L.A. sheriff’s deputies draw federal charges
- Air pollution measures due in court
- Iranian foreign minister says nuke deal dead if new sanctions imposed
- Veteran held in North Korea says statement was coerced
- Ex-San Diego mayor, a Pittsburgh native, avoids jail in sexual harassment
- Budget deal possible on Tuesday, aides say
- Congress renews undetectable gun ban for decade
- Mass. special congressional race heads to wire
- Government sells remaining stake in GM
- Feds curtail paper applications for health care law