Healthy Child Initiative
Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz, NY NHCSL President
WHEREAS childhood obesity has reached epidemic levels, with the percent of children who are overweight continuing to increase, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among children and teens ages 6-19, 16 percent (over 9 million) are overweight according to the 1999-2002 data, or triple what the proportion was in 1980;
WHEREAS risk factors for heart disease (such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure) and Type II diabetes (previously considered an adult disease) have increased dramatically in overweight and obese children and adolescents, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services;
WHEREAS the most immediate consequence of overweight as perceived by the children themselves is social discrimination, poor self-esteem and depression, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services;
WHEREAS a sensible, healthy eating plan includes a variety of fresh and canned foods especially whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, while limiting portion sizes in foods having high density calories;
WHEREAS, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, contributing factors to overweight or obese children include: lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating patterns or a combination of the two, genetics in playing an important role in determining a child’s weight, and the sedentary, inactive lifestyle in today’s society;
WHEREAS numerous studies have demonstrated a direct relationship linking children’s nutrition and wellness with their performance in the classroom (standardized test scores, increased attention and retention) and on the playing field;
WHEREAS conscious choices to improve wellness include moderate daily physical activity and nutrition education (awareness of health and nutrition claims, dietary guidelines, serving sizes, and the nutrition facts panel), which are essential to developing effective holistic programs that help students, teachers, and parents make informed decisions that support a healthy lifestyle for a healthier future;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators that it dedicate itself to educating its members, constituents and others to address the issue of overweight and obese children;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators support comprehensive policies addressing childhood obesity which include a multi-faceted approach, promoting and encouraging nutrition education as well as physical activity to combat the sedentary lifestyle that contributes to overweight and obesity in children;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators will work with Congress to enact legislation and to provide funding to assist state and local governments as well as community leaders who are working to address child obesity as a health epidemic;
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that this resolution be dispatched to the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, Members of Congress, Governors, and other state and local officials as appropriate.
Adopted this 24th day of June 2005 at the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators’ Executive Committee & BBA meeting held in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz, NY