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In the course of the legislative session that ends today, lawmakers sent a little publicized yet potentially significant message with the passage of House Joint Resolution 11. By their formal action, they encouraged those in Utah directly involved in the lives of children “to establish comprehensive wellness policies to help prevent and reduce the prevalence of overweight children and adolescents.”
We’ve all heard the statistics in recent years. Since 1980, the percentage of young people who are overweight has doubled. Most kids don’t exercise regularly. The number of overweight or at risk children in Utah could fill 124 elementary schools or 2,067 classrooms. Their condition places them at greater risk down the road for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. So in conjunction with a nationwide initiative called Action for Healthy Kids, the legislature went on record to promote the idea of healthy schools.
By supporting good nutrition and physical activity “as part of a total learning environment,” it is believed students will become healthier, and more productive and successful. While the legislature’s resolution isn’t binding, it offers an important reminder about a growing health crisis.
KSL joins in urging schools, community organizations and parents to aggressively and effectively promote healthier lifestyles. After all, the future of our state and nation is at stake.