National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators

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April 9, 2010

Contact: Jason Llorenz
202-434-8070
Jason.llorenz@nhcsl.org

HISPANIC STATE LEGISLATORS ADDRESS OBESITY CRISIS
Policy Makers From 20 States and Puerto Rico Hold Summit in Nation’s Capital to Identify Solutions

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) will hold a national summit on Hispanic obesity on Friday, April 9th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. The CDC reports obesity impacts approximately 25.6 percent of the U.S. Population — 28.7 percent of whom are Hispanic. Consequently, 50 Hispanic state legislators are convening with national experts in public health, fitness and medicine to build strategies to combat the crisis.

“Hispanic obesity and its health consequences are at crisis proportions, endangering the nation’s economic and social progress. In at least 11 states, Hispanic obesity is more than 30 percent higher than the national average, literally crippling families,” said NHCSL President, Senator Iris Y. Martinez (IL). States are struggling to cover ballooning health care costs driven by many obesity-related illnesses. Obesity rates are driving alarming rates of diabetes, cancer, and stroke. These illnesses have reached alarming prevalence among Hispanics, adding to families’ economic and social distress.

“Many of us think losing weight is simply about looking and feeling good. However, for the severely overweight and obese, making the commitment to lose weight can become a matter of choosing life over death,” said summit keynote speaker Dr. Ian Smith, medical and diet expert on VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club and founder and creator of The 50 Million Pound Challenge.
NHCSL is partnering with national leaders, including the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance, the George Washington University School of Public Health, and national Hispanic-serving organizations in galvanizing action to aggressively combat obesity. Summit speakers include: Rafael Perez-Escamilla, Ph.D from the Yale School of Public Health, Sylvia Meléndez-Klinger, MS, RD, LD, NCSF, who has appeared on Univision’s “Despierta America,” FOX, NBC and Telemundo, and is the nutritionist for “Hispanics Today”, Felipe Lobelo, MD, Ph.D from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and John Govea, JD from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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The NHCSL is the premier national association of Hispanic state legislators working to design and implement policies and procedures that will improve the quality of life for Hispanics throughout the country. NHCSL was founded in 1989 as a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)3 with the mission to be the most effective voice for the more than 300 Hispanic legislators. For more information visit www.nhcsl.org.

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