Congresswomen Mary Bono Mack (CA-45) and Nita Lowey (NY-18) today continued their efforts to improve the health and well-being of American youth by reintroducing the Improved Nutrition and Physical Activity Act (IMPACT Act). The bipartisan legislation, broadly supported by such organizations as the Girl Scouts of the USA, encourages cross-sector collaboration for improving the health of young people and ensures that community partnerships approach youth health comprehensively by addressing physical activity, nutrition and emotional wellness.
"Together, we can help our young people understand the importance of eating well and exercising and put them on track to live healthier lives," said Bono Mack. "Childhood obesity in the U.S. is increasing at an alarming rate, reaching epidemic levels. This is a health crisis that threatens the life and well-being of Americans, and costs our nation billions of dollars in associated health care expenses each year. It is clear that we need to work on all levels to address this serious issue - in our homes, communities, and in Congress."
"As a grandmother of eight, I believe that keeping our children safe and healthy must be a top priority and a responsibility shared at all levels of society" said Lowey. "By encouraging community partnerships promoting proper nutrition and exercise, we can take a bite out of childhood obesity and a step toward a healthier population."
"Girl Scouts' experience and our original research report, The New Normal? What Girls Say about Healthy Living, tell us that girls define health holistically and identify a strong connection between physical and emotional health," said Laurie Westley, Senior Vice President Public Policy Advocacy and Research. "We applaud Congresswomen Mary Bono Mack and Nita Lowey for their leadership in taking an innovative approach to the childhood obesity crisis and improving children's physical and emotional health. The IMPACT Act will improve how we address children's health and change girls' lives for the better."
The IMPACT Act will help coordinate efforts between public and private entities to improve the health and well-being of young people through a multi-pronged approach that will address the importance of good nutrition, exercise and prevention of eating disorders. Already, in cities and states across the country, programs are underway to encourage healthy food choices and exercise. This legislation will build on existing efforts and support and expand them by providing training grants for health professionals and competitive funding for programs on the community level.
Obesity among children aged 12-19 has increased from 5% to 17.6% (1976-1980 and 2003-2006) according to survey data through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Obese children and adolescents are more likely to become obese as adults. Additionally, the costs associated with obesity and being overweight are estimated to be $90 billion each year, according to the CDC.