During the last 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States. This is no different for Arizona. In the past 20 years, the obesity rate in Arizona has more than doubled. In 2011 13.8% of Arizona children were considered to be overweight, and 10.8% of children were considered to be obese. There are many reasons contributing to this alarming trend, but primarily nutrition and physical activity, or lack thereof, are the leading contributors to the increasing weight issues in Arizona youth. Nearly 60% of Arizona school children report not having attended any kind of physical education class in an average week and almost 30% report watching 3 or more hours of television A DAY!
So… what do we do about this problem? One thing that the AHA has done in 2012 was work to pass legislation that would open up Arizona school playgrounds. One of the primary reasons schools were not opened to the public had to do with liability concerns. The AHA, along with a number of partners worked to pass legislation that limits the school liability during non-instructional hours if they open their facilities to community use. This is one small way that the AHA is working to get our families and communities more physically active and decrease the obesity rate.
- Nicole Olmstead, Arizona Government Relations Director