Guest Blogger: Grace Henscheid, Grassroots Advocacy Director
In early September the State of Obesity Report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust of America’s Health was released and it is clear there is still much work to be done in our fight against obesity.
While there are many statistics in the report one of the numbers that stood out to us was that the obesity rate in Oregon seems to be holding steady. This trend of plateauing at a dangerously high rate is cause for alarm. In 2013 Oregon ranked 36th with an adult obesity rate of 26.5%--consider this: In 1990 it was just 11.2%.
In order to protect Oregonians from the dangers of obesity—including heart disease, diabetes, and stroke—we need to build communities that encourage healthy eating and active lifestyles. One of the programs the American Heart Association offers for free to people that are trying to improve their health is the “Life’s Simple 7” program. This program helps participants to manage heart risk by understanding the importance of getting active, controlling cholesterol, eating better, managing blood pressure, losing weight, reducing blood sugar and stopping smoking.
In addition to this program, we are working to build healthier communities by supporting smart public policy at the state and local level. We are partnering with Upstream Public Health to ensure junk food marketing is out of all Oregon schools. We believe if items aren’t healthy enough to be served in our schools they shouldn’t be advertised in our schools. We’re also working more locally to ensure that every kid in the Metro Region has the opportunity to be physically active by walking or biking to school.
While no single change will reverse the obesity epidemic, we do know the two critical components: increase physical activity and a nutritious diet. With help from advocates like you, we believe it is a battle we can win.