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Radio Address - Childhood Obesity

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Radio Address - September 30, 2004

Gov. Rick Perry
Date: September 30, 2004
Topic: Childhood Obesity

My fellow Texans…

There is a major health crisis impacting Texas today and casting a dark shadow over our future. Millions of our children are on a pathway to serious health problems that will result in shorter lives plagued by poor health because they are overweight or obese.

One out of every three Texas children is considered overweight or obese, and a lack of fitness costs Texas taxpayers and businesses $10 billion each year.

If nothing is done to stem the tide of this growing epidemic, it's possible our youngest generation will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

One of the top goals of my administration is to build a healthier Texas. While every Texan must assume personal responsibility for their own health and that of their children, I believe that government can and must help Texans begin to make healthier choices.

That's why I launched the Texas Round-Up program, a statewide initiative designed to encourage all Texans to incorporate daily physical activity and healthy choices into their lives.

More than 5,500 Texans participated in the first annual Texas Round-Up fitness festival, which featured many activities designed to let young Texans know that exercise can be fun as well as challenging.

The childhood obesity epidemic is also leading to thousands of new cases of diabetes. To help prevent and control the disease, I launched a new Diabetes Education Initiative aimed at providing Texans with nutritional and physical fitness guidelines.

We also now require daily physical activity for our elementary school students, and we have limited access to junk food in our public schools.

These programs and others can help reverse the childhood obesity trends, reduce the odds of disease and illness and ensure that more children can live healthy and productive lives.

The habits our children learn at a young age, both good and bad, will often stick with them for a lifetime. By helping them make the right choices about exercise and nutrition now, we can ensure that every Texas child has a bright, healthy future ahead.

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