THE BLOG

Fighting Childhood Obesity One State at a Time

09/24/2013 05:09 pm 17:09:42 | Updated Nov 24, 2013

Obesity is a global societal issue. It is an epidemic that affects adults and sadly an increasing number of children. We need to make a change today to ensure our kids have a healthy future. While much is being done abroad to help children in need, we also need to focus on our own house. And that's just what we're doing.

It's been an extraordinary few days. This past week, I was in Georgia and West Virginia giving schools the tools to make a significant difference in the lives of their students. I worked with Governor Nathan Deal (Georgia) and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (West Virginia) to award Live Positively Fitness Centers to three deserving, National Champion schools in each state.

Today, I made my way into New Jersey, where I worked with Governor Chris Christie to provide fitness centers to three more National Champion schools in his state. What's become increasingly clear to me is how appreciative and excited students, parents and teachers are to have someone care enough to provide exercise equipment to help their kids get on the path to a healthy future.

Obesity is a disease that's preventable with a few simple adjustments to our daily lives. Instead of being sedentary, we need to get moving. Going on a short walk, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or riding a bike to work are easy solutions that will help steer this nation toward a healthier lifestyle.

It seems simple, so why isn't everyone doing it? What's it going to take to get us to change our thinking and get us moving? I've put a lot of thought into this, and I've realized that while it does take a personal commitment to getting healthy, it's also going to take a village to help create change on a large scale.

One of the most effective ways to create a large scale change is through public/private partnerships. Private sector support has helped fund a variety of successful programs designed to help America get fit. And I've personally helped bring in the private sector to help fund taxpayer free programs that provide children with real incentives to get active, healthy and fit. In fact, the Coca-Cola Company has been instrumental in helping us provide Live Positively Fitness Centers to award winning schools around the country. This type of commitment to our kids will pay dividends in the future.

While it's not always easy, I have found that when corporations make little changes in the way they market products to the general public, it makes a big difference. For those companies who are taking steps to jump on board the fitness health train, I salute you. Companies like Coca-Cola are making a change and today are promoting low and no calories options, making nutritional information transparent on their products and have made a commitment to stop marketing to children. In fact, they aren't stopping there, many are also giving back by funding programs like the National Champion Schools program, geared toward making children and entire communities healthier.

In order to make a real change in the way we fight obesity in our nation, more companies need to get involved. We need to encourage more partnerships and support corporations that not only say they believe in helping fight obesity, but actually put their money where their mouth is by doing something about this growing problem.

We need to make a change and we need to do it together. We have the ability to influence the way people think about fitness and healthy living but we need to work together to get people moving in the right direction. Together we can do it!

We've got the tools and the know how and with a "Don't Quit" attitude, anything is possible, which has become abundantly clear in states like Georgia, West Virginia, New Jersey and every other state we've visited.

For more information about the National Foundation for Governors' Fitness Councils and the National Champions School program, visit www.nationalgovcouncil.com.

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