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Monday, July 26, 2010

The Obesity Crisis Continues



If nurses and the public are not yet convinced it is time to take action to combat obesity, the latest report posted online by the Trust for America's Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is another sobering wake up call. The timely report "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2010" reflects data for both adults and children, includes color maps to indicate obesity rates in each state, and provides links to more specific data for each state. Included are statistics that highlight the ethnic, racial, regional and income disparities in this growing epidemic. The article provides more excellent data to support the premise of HR 4601 - creation of a National Nurse to raise awareness and prompt nurses in every community to take action to combat obesity and other costly preventable diseases.

Although some progress is reported, the disparities continue according to Jeffrey Levi, PhD, executive director of Trust for America’s Health. Levi states "This report shows that the country has taken bold steps to address the obesity crisis in recent years, but the nation's response has yet to fully match the magnitude of the problem." More can and must be done to raise awareness and motivate behavioral changes. The report acknowledges that more than 12 million children are obese, and sites survey data indicating 84% of parents believe their children are at a healthy weight, even when research shows nearly one-third of children and teens are obese or overweight.

"Obesity rates among the current generation of young people are unacceptably high and a very serious problem," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., RWJF president and CEO. "To reverse this national epidemic, we have to make every community a healthy community. Americans are increasingly ready and willing to make that investment." This readiness and willingness are obvious to supporters of HR 4601, and serve to drive the campaign for a National Nurse to help spearhead community action.

This report also discusses ways some of the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 sets policy and provides a number of prevention and wellness provisions to help address the issue. Community Transformation grants and the National Diabetes Prevention program are mentioned as having potential to help leverage the success of existing evidence based programs in more communities. Such funding will be a key resource, as the National Nurse role is developed to mobilize nurses, students and retirees to become active supporters and participants in their community's efforts.

The NNNO Board encourages all supporters to review this key report online. Be prepared to reference this pertinent report whenever you encourage support for a National Nurse and/or visit your legislators to request they become co-sponsors of HR 4601 The National Nurse Act of 2010.

The National Nursing Network Organization Team—Monday, July 26, 2010  

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