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Viewpoints April 16, 2014

11/14/2012 9:46:00 AM
Letter to the Editor: Motivate the nation to fight obesity

To the Editor:
We have a serious obesity problem within the state of Iowa and across the nation.
An article in the Des Moines Register asks if Iowa can get any fatter. The answer to the question was “yes”, which really shocked me because now we are seeing articles in the newspaper about obesity and how studies are showing that in the upcoming years the percentage of people who are going to become obese will be above 50%. I found this article extremely shocking because there have been reports about the obesity rate increasing for a while.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention the rate of childhood obesity has tripled in recent years to 17%. This percentage is way too high and people in the health profession are noticing that obesity is starting to show up in the younger generation. I know that there are programs out there that promote eating healthy and exercising, but how is this motivating our country to change the lifestyle that we are accustomed to?   
The Iowa House passed a policy called the Iowa Healthy Food Challenge to help children eat right in school and to help prevent obesity. Many schools are cutting back on the amount of food that the children are eating during lunch. Many of the children are throwing away the food that the school kitchen staff is serving and bringing cold lunches to school filled with foods that contain high amounts of sugar. Studies have shown that children are watching more than 10 hours of television instead of doing some of kind of activity outside.
The Colorado Health Department created the Smart Meals Program with the goal of improving healthy food options in restaurants throughout the state. I suggest that we implement a program that is similar to the Smart Meals Program in Colorado. I think if the menus in our restaurants had some kind of a seal or indicator on them then people might have the incentive to eat healthier.
I am asking that instead of creating more programs and providing the funding for those programs that the government comes up with, another way would be to motivate the nation to exercise and take care of themselves and their children better.  
Megan Stock

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