150 Gather to Begin Regional Talks on Obesity

More than 150 community leaders are meeting Fridays March 1 and March 8 to gain understanding about the local obesity epidemic, connect with others who are concerned about this issue and begin to identify steps for a regional effort to build a healthier Fox Valley. 

Locally, more than 62% of adults are overweight or obese. Obesity is a leading cause of many preventable health conditions including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, liver disease, orthopedic problems, and more. In large part due to obesity, youth born today represent the first generation in U.S. history that is not expected to outlive their parents.  Fox Cities and Oshkosh area 2011 LIFE Studies as well as public health needs assessments have identified obesity, inactivity and nutrition issues high on the list of priorities.

The two-day summit is being organized and funded by United Way, area healthcare systems, CHAT (Community Health Action Team) and public health departments in the  Outagamie, Winnebago and Calumet county region. The framework of the summit will feature an HBO film series developed with support from the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health entitled “Weight of the Nation.” The four-part series addresses consequences of obesity, the impact on children, personal choices and the challenges to community change. These films will serve as the basis for gaining local understanding and creating community dialogue. Summit organizers hope whatever comes of this two-day event will build upon existing efforts already underway by many organizations. 

The summit will wrap up March 8. A follow-up meeting to the summit is scheduled for April 10 for attendees who are interested in furthering this cause.