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Public Statements

Recogniing National Childhood Obesity Month

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

* Mr. INSLEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize September as National Childhood Obesity Month. Childhood obesity is one of the biggest health challenges facing our country; driving up medical costs, hurting our economy, and shortening lives. For the first time our children and grandchildren are projected to live shorter and less healthy lives than we do. Medical costs associated with obesity total more than a billion dollars a year. The price tag will continue to increase as our youth face more and more diseases normally only found in adult populations, like hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol. This growing epidemic is driven by environmental, economic, and social factors that make fats, salt and sugars cheaper and more available than fresh fruits and vegetables and limit the opportunities for sports and recreation.

* The good news is that prevention works and by working together we can buck this trend. Together, we can improve access to healthier foods, increase availability of active transportation for our youth, and ensure our communities are walkable.

* We face an uphill battle--according to Washington State's Healthy Youth Survey, 24% of 10th graders are either obese or overweight, and less than half of children surveyed were getting enough fruits and vegetables. Yet already, many leaders and communities in Washington are stepping to the plate and are committed to taking on this fight by making healthy, important changes. From Moses Lake to Mount Vernon, communities are successfully incorporating policies to increase access to healthy foods and physical activity. Seattle's Odessa Brown Children's Clinic, located in a community where nearly 40% of children are overweight or obese, is on the front lines of combating childhood obesity. The clinic has successfully integrated childhood obesity prevention and treatment program into their primary care to address the challenge.

* Childhood obesity prevention should be a top priority. In Congress, I worked to pass the Affordable Care Act because I believe an increased focus on preventative medicine and increasing access to care will improve our nation's health. I also support the Fit Kids Act, to ensure that children get enough physical activity. We know what we need to do to reverse this alarming national epidemic. It will not be easy, but together we can fight the childhood obesity trend.

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