247800 Role of Public Health Leadership in Preventing Obesity

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 10:48 AM

Joseph Harrington, BA , Assistant Commissioner for Community Engagement, Chicago Department of Public Health, Chicago, IL
George Smith Jr., MPH , Center of Community Health & Vitality, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Damon Arnold, MD , Illinois Department of Public Health, Springfield, IL
Stephen A. Martin Jr., PhD, MPH , Chief Operating Officer, Cook County Department of Public Health, Forest Park, IL
In 2009 the Institute of Medicine released its ‘Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity' report. Cited among its findings was the disturbing possibility that the prevalence of childhood obesity was so high in the United States that it may reduce the life expectancy of today's generation of children. The ‘F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2010' report from the Trust for America's Health named Illinois as the nation's 26th most obese state and ranked fourth for childhood obesity. The report also highlights troubling racial and ethnic disparities in obesity rates. In Illinois adult obesity rates for Blacks and Latinos were higher than for Whites. The adult obesity rate was 35.5 percent among Blacks and 30.6 percent among Latinos, compared with 25.3 percent among Whites. 20.7 percent of children were obese in the state. Chicago-specific data shows that while the prevalence of obesity nationally for children 2-5 years of age was about 10%, for those 3-7 years of age in Chicago it was 22%.

According to the IOM report “If local government officials were asked to describe their vision of what a healthy community looks like, they would probably cite many similar characteristics: effective and active schools; safe neighborhoods; clean parks and public spaces; and readily accessible services such as playgrounds, recreational facilities, libraries, and grocery stores.”

This session will focus on how Illinois which has received CDC funding at the state and local levels is working to combat obesity and reduce the burden of chronic disease.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the role of a public health agency in promoting children’s health and preventing obesity; Identify at least two actions which are within the jurisdiction of local government which are likely to directly impact children; Discuss the prevalence and trends in obesity and its disparate impact on racial and ethnic minorities

Keywords: Obesity, Chronic Diseases

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My experience and expertise in a leadership position in a large urban public health department as well as previous experience as a presenter at APHA
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.