Reducing Obesity for Hispanic Children is a Focus of the National Hispanic Medical Association's Congressional Briefing

Sep 27, 2010, 21:26 ET from National Hispanic Medical Association

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to the U.S. Census, one in every four Hispanics now live in poverty, a total of 12.4 million people facing hunger. What is more alarming is that 33 percent of Hispanic children now live below the poverty line.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2008, 18.5 percent of Hispanic children were obese compared to 12.6 percent of white children and 11.8 percent of African American children.

"We are bringing experts to Congress to discuss strategies that work to reduce obesity among Hispanic children, according to Dr. Elena Rios, president and ceo of the National Hispanic Medical Association, "because our society needs to invest in prevention programs that reduce child obesity in our poorest communities."

The National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) is convening a Congressional Briefing, "Prevention Policies & Programs to Reduce Obesity among Hispanic Children" at the Rayburn House Office Building Room 2168 on September 28, 2010 from 1:00 – 2:30 pm to help change these statistics.

One of the speakers, Dr. Shale Wong from the First Lady's Office said, "We commend NHMA for organizing this Congressional briefing which showcases policies and programs to help reduce obesity among Hispanic Children and thus contributes to ending the wider childhood obesity epidemic, the goal of the First Lady's Let's Move Campaign."  

"Since 2007, National Dairy Council (NDC) has partnered with the NHMA to improve the health of the nation's Hispanic population – and other underserved populations – through various educational programs. Now, through Fuel Up to Play 60, an in-school nutrition and fitness program launched in partnership with NDC and the National Football League in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we are proud to join with NHMA to help combat obesity for all children, especially those in large urban areas who are particularly at risk," said Karen Kafer, another speaker and Vice President of Nutrition Affairs-Health Partnerships at NDC. "We at NDC are excited to work with NHMA to increase access to healthy, tasty and appealing food choices at school, along with regular physical activity by engaging and empowering youth to take action for their own health. With more than 61,000 schools already enrolled, Fuel Up to Play 60 is providing a long-term avenue to improve the health of  all children." 

 Other  speakers include Rajen Anand, DVM, PhD, Executive Director, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cecilia Pozo Fileti, MS, RD, Director, Latino Infant Nutrition Initiative, Eduardo Sanchez, MD, MPH, Vice President & Chief Medical Officer, Health Care Service Corporation, and Ana Garcia, MPA, Senior Policy Associate, New York Academy of Medicine.

The good news is that there has been growing attention in Washington, DC to reducing child obesity. The Affordable Care Act, passed in March, will support major prevention programs to transform our communities to reduce obesity. This summer, Congressman Joe Baca (D-CA) introduced the Healthy Children through School Nutrition Education Act to add nutrition education to school lunch programs and the Physical Education to Create a Healthier Nation Act for public schools to have minimum physical education time.

This week Congress will be voting on The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act (S. 3307) that includes many significant improvements over current law including updated nutrition standards for all foods and beverages sold in schools, increased lunch reimbursements to include fresh produce, training to help schools serve healthier meals, expansion of afterschool meals and enrolling more low-income children for free meals. Most low income communities have limited resources that result in families eating foods high in calories, low in nutrition and contributing to the growing obesity epidemic.  

The National Hispanic Medical Association is a non-profit organization in Washington, DC with the mission to empower Hispanic physicians to lead efforts to improve health of Hispanic populations in collaboration with public and private sector partners.  See for more information.

SOURCE National Hispanic Medical Association