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the future of our children

The NAACP sends email that is always interesting.  The email I received today concerned the work they are planning to battle childhood obesity.  It’s an epidemic and a serious problem, especially among the African-American population, who are at risk at a much higher rate than white American children.  (There may be similar numbers and the same breakdown for the adult population, though I don’t have any numbers.)

At a recent board meeting of the YMCA, this issue was addressed, and we plan to focus with great gusto on ways to combat the problem.   Our three main focus areas are 1) Healthy Living, 2) Youth Development, and 3) Social Responsibility.   Each area will have a committee attached to it; the committee I chose to work on is Social Responsibility.

When I  read the NAACP message, it reminded me that far too many children face socio-economic barriers impacting what they eat.  In some of the lower-income communities, I recently learned, there are generally no grocery stores, and people resort to cheap fast food, or what ever they can find at the local 7-Eleven.

I think this is an important issue and thought it was important to share. The first line in the below email, about younger people not outliving their parents lifespan, is frightening.  We must strengthen and educate our young people.

Below is the important email from Shavon L. Arline-Bradley, Director, NAACP Health Programs:

For the first time in history, younger generations will not outlive their parents.

The cause? Childhood obesity. What’s more, the disease is plaguing African American populations at a rate that is disproportionately higher than the rest of the country.

Childhood obesity is a product of our environment, of our socio-economic statuses, and our geography. But, no matter the cause, we are the only ones with the power to fix it.

The NAACP is addressing this problem head on. Today, we released our brand new Childhood Obesity Advocacy Manual. Our local units are working to implement awareness, educate parents and children, and advocate for policy change – so that support can be found in the communities where it’s needed most.

You can be part of the solution by helping us better understand the problem and answering a few short questions about your community today:

It’s impossible to deny the role that our schools and state and local governments play in the epidemic of childhood obesity in our communities, but if we want to change policy it has to start at the ground level.

So, the NAACP is empowering you, Andrea, with the chance to make a real difference.

There are three major policy areas we’re focusing on: built environment, food environment, and school-based policies. Over the coming months, the NAACP will be assembling a task force of activists who we can work with fight for real change in these areas and start reducing the occurrence of childhood obesity in communities across America.

As always, we’d love to have you join us for the fight. Get started now:

I hope you will reach out a helping hand to the younger generation and American families of all colors to implement healthier lifestyles.

Thank you,

Shavon L. Arline-Bradley
NAACP Health Programs

The first link, above, has a manual and ideas on how to advocate for change.

It’s a worthy goal, and it’s all about children and their future, which is our future, too.

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