SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 17 /PRNewswire/ -- California moms tell how they have incorporated more fruits and vegetables and physical activities into their families' daily lives in new television and outdoor ads launched today by the California Department of Health Services (CDHS). The ads are part of the new Champions for Change campaign that highlight the key role moms play in healthy eating to combat the state's obesity epidemic. "I am inspired by the passion and sincerity of the women featured in our new Champions for Change ads," said State Public Health Officer Dr. Mark Horton. "These women are not actors. They are everyday moms coming forward with their personal message to the residents of this state. It's up to each of us to take responsibility for what we eat and what we do. It's a message Californians have heard before, but these ladies speak from the heart." The new ads feature tools and tips to make healthy choices easier. The campaign is part of California's ongoing public health effort to empower low- income Californians to live healthier, more active lives. CDHS' Network for a Healthy California (Network) partners with more than 200 organizations statewide to promote fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity and food security, with the goal to prevent obesity and other chronic diseases. The Network has rebranded the historic California 5 a Day Campaign with a new look to reflect the new federal U.S. Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines for Americans that nearly doubled the amount of fruits and vegetables needed every day for better health. "Many low-income Californians face barriers to healthy eating and being active such as lack of access to good, nutritious food and safe places to play and exercise," said Horton. "These new ads encourage individuals to become agents of change in their communities to work toward better access to nutritious foods and safe environments. We urge Californians to be Champions for Change and take control of their families' health, nutrition and well- being." Californians have gained 360 million pounds in the past decade. More than half of adult Californians are overweight or obese and one in every three California children ages 9 to 11 and one in four ages 12 to 17 are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger addresses this crisis in his Obesity Prevention Plan and Health Care Reform proposal, both of which complement the department's campaign. The Network enlisted moms throughout the state to carry the message to California neighborhoods and communities. "Moms have a sense of credibility," said Horton. "They know that good health starts in their shopping carts and kitchens. These women bring the Network's mission to life by speaking about their own experiences to overcoming barriers to access healthier food and inspiring community members to be Champions for Change." Brenda Parker of Rialto in Riverside County is one of the moms featured in the campaign. Besides being a role model for healthier eating habits and physical activity in her home, Parker recently established a healthy snack sale at her children's school to replace the traditional unhealthy baked goods and snacks. "Being a Champion for Change is a big honor for my family and me," said Parker. "I know how hard it can be to make health a priority. However, by being a role model for my children, I am able to show them how eating fruit and vegetables and participating in physical activity are so important. I want other moms to know that moms like me are making healthy changes, and they can too." For more information, visit the Network Web site at www.cachampionsforchange.net.
SOURCE California Department of Health Services