Planning for Change
Overweight and obesity is one of the most serious health concerns facing our nation. Nationally, nearly 65% of U.S. adults are overweight or obese (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Equally alarming is the number of children that are overweight. As of 2003, 15.3% of 6-11 year olds and 15.5% of 12 to 19 year olds are at or above the 95th percentile for Body Mass Index .
Trends in Connecticut equally demonstrate the impact of overweight and obesity among residents. Between 1994 and 2002, CT experienced a 52% increase in the prevalence of obesity among adults. Obesity prevalence increased from 10.9% in 1991 to 18% in 2002, nearly doubling in just over a decade. In fact, 56.1% of Connecticut’s adults are either overweight or obese, accounted for by the 37.1% that are overweight (BMI of 25 to 29.9) and the 18% of adults who are considered obese (BMI of 30 or more).
SOURCE: Connecticut’s Plan for Health Promotion Through Healthy Eating and Active Living, CT Department of Public Health, 2004)
Based on current trends, the serious health concern of obesity and overweight warrants action. Until now, obesity has evaded most intervention efforts that have focused more predominantly on individual risk factors and outcomes. However, obesity and overweight results from the overlap of not only one’s biology, but also the policies, practices, and environmental factors in which an individual lives, works, and plays. Whether we speak of worksite settings, schools, healthcare delivery systems, or the community-at-large, having a healthy community environment ensures that residents understand and have many opportunities to practice and make healthy lifestyle choices. To develop these meaningful solutions and a healthy community environment, input and support from all members of the community, families, schools, healthcare providers, community organizations, and policymakers is needed.
The purpose of the Healthy Eating and Active Living Resource kit is to:
- Encourage the building of partnerships and opportunities for collaboration across a large, diverse group of community members.
- Promote the understanding and identification of policies, practices, and environmental factors that affect nutrition and physical activity choices in a community.
- Provide a list of practical tools to facilitate and support community efforts for improving nutrition and physical activity (e.g., sample materials, educational resources, programs, website links, and contact points)