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Addressing obesity in our community







Community leaders from the Fox Valley gathered on March 1, 2013 to learn more about the complexities of the obesity epidemic that plagues our region and our nation.

The Weight of the Fox Valley, the title of the summit, which will continue on March 8, offers attendees the opportunity to network with local community members who are concerned about this public health issue. The summit also provides a venue for participants to explore how communities in the area can come together to work collaboratively and how to best address the obesity epidemic.

The obesity epidemic has not spared the Fox Valley, with the percentage of overweight and obese adults in our area matching national rates. Roughly about 62 percent of adults in our area are overweight or obese.

Obesity contributes to the rise in diabetes and other chronic conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, cancer and more. It affects individual’s quality of life and has been associated with a shortened lifespan. These chronic conditions are being seen more and more in children, and childhood obesity is contributing to the finding that today’s generation of children is the first in the U.S. that may not outlive their parents.

The summit uses the work done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and HBO, which resulted in the creation of a documentary titled “The Weight of the Nation”. The documentary presents, in four separate films, the consequences of obesity, childhood obesity, choices individuals make in an effort to lose weight and the challenges that exist in trying to combat this issue.

While there are various strategies to combat obesity, the summit aims to bring the community together to learn what existing efforts are present in our community, to engage in capacity building and to strive to have greater collective impact for improved outcomes in tackling obesity in our area.

The United Way, area health care systems including Affinity Health System and public health departments from Calumet, Outagamie and Winnebago counties, as well as the Community Health Action Team (CHAT), organized and funded this event.

A follow up meeting is scheduled for April 10, 2013 at the Bridgewood Resort in Neenah to further discuss strategies communities should take to collectively address the issue of obesity in our region.

For more information about the summit, please contact Julia E. Salomon at jsalomon@affinityhealth.org

To view The Weight of the Nation series:

Part 1: Consequences

Part 2: Choices

Part 3: Children in Crisis

Part 4: Challenges

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/puuikibeach/4765115333/

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