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 Washington seems to have leveled off. While we would have preferred to see it go down we are happy to see that at least it is not still going up. In 2013, Washington ranked 32nd with an adult obesity rate of 27.2%.
In order to lower this number 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 passing state and local legislation. In the 2015 legislative session we will appeal to the state budget writers to increase funding for Safe Routes to School, a program that funds projects that help make communities in our state more walkable. Currently for every three requests the state receives they can fund only one project. We believe that by building communities that are conducive and encouraging of physical activity the health of everyone who lives there will be improved.
While the news about Washington’s obesity rate is encouraging we now need to take the next step and work to decrease the obesity rate. With help from advocates like you we believe it is a battle we can win.