The Connecticut Coalition Against Childhood Obesity released a statewide poll focusing on the severity of childhood obesity in Connecticut (US). The poll was sponsored by Save the Children and The American Heart Association.
The coalition was recently formed to support legislative policies that will improve nutrition and physical activity in schools to reduce obesity. This month, the Ccalition will release a five-point policy agenda based on national best practices and models. The coalition intends to implement many of these policies in various education and health bills this legislative session.
The poll included likely voters from Fairfield County, Hartford County, New Haven, Middlesex, New London, Litchfield, Tolland and Windham. Over 80% of respondents cited obesity as a serious problem among children and teens in Connecticut today. Importantly, the poll also indicated that 92% of respondents feel that schools and the community should play a major role in reducing obesity in Connecticut.
Perhaps the most surprising but equally revealing result was respondents citing the number one health risk to children in Connecticut today as childhood obesity. This polled even higher than drugs 21%, nicotine 11%, or alcohol 11%.
Clark Hansen of Save the Children said: “It is so important that we combat the issue of childhood obesity as an overall student health issue and a critical factor in successful school reform efforts. How can our Connecticut students achieve their maximum potential in school if they are battling obesity and obesity related health problems? We need a coordinated effort here in Connecticut to make a true impact.”
The poll shows that 98% of people believe that a student’s health has an impact on their performance at school.
Lucy Nolan, from End Hunger Connecticut! and a Coalition member, said: “This poll should demonstrate to the Legislature this is a major concern for the voters of Connecticut. This session is going to be dominated by the achievement gap in Connecticut. However if childhood obesity and the health our children are not a part of this conversation then we may be missing a major piece to the solution.”
Obesity costs the US an estimated $147bn each year in medical expenses and the rates of obesity among children, adolescents and adults have increased dramatically over the past four decades. More than 23m (1 in 3) young people in the US are overweight or obese and at a greater risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and other health problems.
Source: The Connecticut Coalition Against Childhood Obesity
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