I have had the privilege of attending one day of the Childhood Obesity Conference. I got to attend the morning plenary with individuals from the Institute of Medicine talking to us about what they do and the initiatives they have regarding childhood obesity. I have also had the pleasure of hearing the State Superintendent of Public Instruction who reminded me of how team is spelled or more important, what T.E.A.M. can mean: Together Everyone Accomplishes More. This sentiment is so true and echoed throughout the several presentations I've already listened to.
A few more things I've already learned from some of the sessions I attended:
- Studies have been recently published that directly link physical activity with higher cognitive functioning. Gail Woodward Lopez shared that in order to maximize the physical activity in the schools that it needs to be a whole-school approach. Meaning planning and implementation of programs need to be cross-sectional. She mentioned making Physical Education a Core Subject would be an effective way to engage all parts of the school planning, policies and processes.
- Stefan Harvey shared two cities in California attempting to implement a soda tax, Richmond and El Monte. They hover around 100,000 in population and were attempting to implement a 1 cent per ounce city tax on sodas. The soda industry campaigned "no" on the tax measures spending 4 million dollars on campaigning against it. The "vote yes" on the tax only spent approximately $66,000. The city constituents turned out in droves to vote down the measure. I found the amount of money spent in these two small cities to campaign against this measure was incredible. It seems as though it worked.
- David Wallinga shared that corn is the most heavily subsidized crop in America. Corn sweeteners are the most heavily consumed product. We are "overeating exactly what our farm policy incents to produce."
- We need to mind our P's Lynn Silver-Chalfin shared. I find this a great way to consider what we want to assess and accomplish in the light of the childhood obesity epidemic. Poverty, Pricing, Placement, Promotion, Portion Size, Physical Activity, Pushback and Power. (I think this might be one of my favorites!)
- Work Across Silos. Love this sentiment echoed again and again. All of the different organizations can come together. Mr. Wallinga shared an example of doing this to publish joint statements across organizations or the Superintendent shared that he did this across departmental funding to hire one person to communicate, plan and execute for the public health department, the education department and the agriculture departments of California.
This is just a glimpse of what iIve gotten to experience so far. Stay tuned, more to come! Follow on Twitter #coc13!