In recognition of Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Congressman Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat, today introduced legislation that would establish a pilot program to track the prevalence of childhood obesity. The program would include the accumulation of body mass index (BMI) data in current immunization registries in 10 states.
"Obesity has reached near epidemic levels across the United States. The health of our youngest Americans will impact our economy, health care costs and public health," said Moran. "In order to track our progress in reducing childhood obesity, we must have accurate and up-to-date information."
Moran's legislation would eliminate the need to create an entirely new data system by adding BMI data to current childhood immunization record systems. Body mass index is a non-invasive measurement calculated from height and weight. The legislation requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to deliver a report on the results and effectiveness of the pilot program after enactment.
Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled - nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. Obesity is a leading factor in diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other life-threatening health diseases.
President Obama declared September 2012 National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month to encourage all Americans to learn about and engage in activities that promote healthy eating and greater physical activity by all our nation's children.