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Healthcare Georgia Foundation Releases New Data on Georgia’s Problem of Childhood Overweight

                                                           

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 CONTACT:
  Kristina Heuman
Porter Novelli
kristina.heuman@porternovelli.com
404-995-4522
 

                   Latest HealthVoices Shows State Residents are Ready to Take Action

Atlanta, Georgia – June 21, 2005 – Healthcare Georgia Foundation, a statewide foundation dedicated to advancing the health and health care of Georgians, announces new data today demonstrating that while Georgia faces a significant problem with childhood overweight and lack of physical activity, its residents are willing to take action and to improve the health of Georgia’s youth.


A recent poll, conducted by Healthcare Georgia Foundation, found that two-thirds of Georgians recognize that childhood overweight and low fitness levels are very serious problems. The results also show that 97 percent of those polled agree that while parents have the primary responsibility to prevent this problem, schools and communities play important roles as well.


According to this poll, more than 50 percent of Georgians are willing to support an earmarked increase in alcohol and tobacco taxes or a 1 percent special sales tax to fund nutrition and physical education enhancements in schools, indicating that residents are serious and committed to improving health for Georgia’s youth.


“Georgia’s children run the risk of being the first generation to live sicker and die younger than their parents,” said Healthcare Georgia Foundation President Dr. Gary Nelson. “The results of this poll clearly indicate that Georgians recognize the problem and are willing to invest in helping get Georgia’s kids on the track to a healthy life. Together, we can affect change and set an example for the nation in creating a healthier environment for our children.”


Childhood overweight is an emerging health problem that has gained national attention. Studies show that being overweight increases a child’s risk for developing diseases like diabetes and hypertension, as well as exposes kids to social stigmas associated with obesity. With 14 percent of Georgia’s middle school students overweight and another 19 percent at risk for becoming overweight, Georgians are looking for ways to reverse this epidemic.

“Acknowledging the severity of the facts, it is critical that Georgians act immediately to help get Georgia’s kids on track to a healthy life,” said Dr. Nelson. “In an society where it is not always easy to make healthy choices, we need to give our children every opportunity possible to develop and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Georgians are ready and willing to take action to ensure its youth have a healthy future.”


The complete poll results appear in Healthcare Georgia Foundation’s latest issue of its publication HealthVoices entitled Addressing Childhood Overweight: Let Georgia Lead the Way. The Foundation will officially announce these data at a statewide summit this week to identify strategies and policies to promote physical activity and healthy weight among youth in schools, families, communities and health care settings in Georgia. The summit is being convened by Policy Leadership for Active Youth, a three-year research initiative supported by Healthcare Georgia Foundation.

About Healthcare Georgia Foundation
Healthcare Georgia Foundation is a statewide, private independent foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to advance the health of all Georgians and to expand access to affordable, quality healthcare for underserved individuals and communities. Through its strategic grantmaking, Healthcare Georgia Foundation supports organizations that drive positive change, promotes programs that improve health and healthcare among underserved individuals and communities, and connects people, partners and resources across Georgia. 

HealthVoices is published periodically by Healthcare Georgia Foundation as an educational service to Georgians interested in health policy. For more information on Healthcare Georgia Foundation and to read the latest edition of HealthVoices, visit www.healthcaregeorgia.org.


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