Anna Maria Chávez, chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of the USA, today pledged to support ChildObesity180 (CO180),
an initiative designed to reverse the epidemic of childhood
obesity within a generation.
Speaking at the Building a Healthier Future Summit here, Chávez called for a holistic approach to combating childhood obesity, one that goes beyond physical activity to include the emotional and psychological dimensions of a problem that now affects an estimated 17 percent of children between the ages of 2 and 19, or 12.5 million young people. When obesity is combined with the number of youth who are overweight, that figure jumps to 32 percent.
“Our commitment to health and fitness goes back nearly 100 years,” Chávez told the gathering, which included leading figures from the nonprofit, philanthropic and private sectors. “If we want girls to drink right, snack smart and be active, we have to help them make the connection between these healthy behaviors and the things they care about – like body image, self-confidence, and social and emotional wellness. And working with our partner organizations, we can change these statistics and get girls healthier.”
CO180 seeks to provide an integrated national strategy and become a major catalyst to prioritize and drive the necessary changes to reverse childhood obesity within one generation. The initiative is bringing together national leaders from government, public health, academia, media, industry, philanthropy, and advocacy to create a wide-ranging approach to childhood obesity prevention. Its initial priority areas are: children’s access to healthier foods, physical activity, marketing to children, and eating out.
The Building a Healthier Future Summit, organized by the Partnership for a Healthier America, was co-chaired by Tennessee's own former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (pictured) and Newark Mayor Cory Booker. First Lady Michelle Obama, who has made the fight against childhood obesity one of her signature issues, will deliver the keynote address on Wednesday, November 30.