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Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity
FIGURE 1-1 Prevalence of obesity among children, 1971–2006.
SOURCE: CDC, NHANES.
2007). Those recommendations call for governmental leadership, at all levels, on better measurement of childhood obesity; consideration of the unique characteristics and contexts of people in communities when obesity prevention initiatives are being developed; evaluation of programs to see what works; and dissemination of information about what does and does not work. This report is meant to serve as a tool for local government officials, mayors, managers, commissioners, council members, or administrators; elected, appointed, or hired; at the city, town, township, or county level—and those who work in partnership with them to help in tackling the prevention of childhood obesity in their jurisdictions.
Tip O’Neill, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, is credited with having said that “all politics is local.” All health is local as well. Health is, first of all, a personal matter. It is very “local” and extends outward from the individual to include the family, close relationships, and the community. Second, although health is strongly influenced by state, regional, national, and international trends and actions, many strategies for addressing childhood obesity must be carried out at the local level to make a difference.
An old adage says that a healthy child is a happy child. Likewise, a fit student is a better-performing student (Chomitz et al., 2009; Mahar et al., 2006). Whether by casual observation or more scientific study, it is clear that the overall well-being of a child affects his or her behavior and academic performance. While much has been done by the nation and at the community level to improve the health prospects of children through public health and medical interventions such