Monday, September 16, 2019

National Hispanic Medical Association Briefs Congress on Childhood Obesity among Hispanics

On Wednesday, the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) briefed Congress at a hearing over the obesity epidemic impacting Hispanic children.

Almost a fifth of Hispanic children in the US are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We are bringing experts to Congress to discuss strategies that work to reduce obesity among Hispanic children,” Dr. Elena Rios, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association, said. “Our society needs to invest in prevention programs that reduce child obesity in our poorest communities.”

Earlier this month, La Plaza reported that The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is funding a $2 million initiative over the next 16 months which will create a coalition of leading civil rights groups in the nation, including the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) to address the epidemic of child obesity.

The hearing titled “Prevention Policies & Programs to Reduce Obesity among Hispanic Children,” featured Dr. Shale Wong from the First Lady’s Office.

“We commend NHMA for organizing this Congressional briefing which showcases policies and programs to help reduce obesity among Hispanic Children and thus contributes to ending the wider childhood obesity epidemic, the goal of the First Lady’s Let’s Move Campaign,” Wong said.

Policymakers have already begun taking measures to combat the obesity epidemic.  Congressman Joe Baca (D-CA) introduced the Healthy Children through School Nutrition Education Act this summer which adds nutrition education to school lunch programs.  He is also the sponsor of the Physical Education to Create a Healthier Nation Act requiring public schools to set a minimum for physical education time.

Congress is set to vote on The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act (S. 3307) this week which includes many significant improvements to the current law governing nutrition standards in schools, such as increasing reimbursements to include fresh produce and enrolling more low-income children for free meals.

PR Newswire