Monday, April 26, 2010

Forum Report: Weighing the Options

On Wednesday, April 21st coordinators from the Russell Forum for Civic Life in Georgia met with graduate students interested in nutrition and health promotion at the University of Georgia for a discussion on childhood obesity. Nine students, two professors, and two moderators gathered in the conference room of the Gerontology Center to discuss the NIF issue guide “Weighing the Options: How Can We Encourage Healthy Weights among America’s Youth?” The guide presents the following approaches to the problem:

Approach 1: Expect personal responsibility for fitness – The crux of the problem is that our children are not getting the education and supervision they need in order to be fit and healthy. Adults need to play a stronger role in guiding young people to choose healthy foods and include enough physical activity in their daily lives.

Approach 2: Invest in overall child well-being – The crux of the problem is that we focus too much on children’s weight as the primary concern, rather than as a symptom of other issues. Investing in the overall well-being of children is the best way to help them maintain healthy weights.

Approach 3: Change our culture to encourage fitness – The crux of the problem is that our society bombards children and families with opportunities to eat more and do less. We need to drastically change our home, school and community environments to restore a healthy balance between the calories we eat and the calories we burn.

After going through the ground rules and watching the introductory video, moderators began to prompt the group with questions about personal stake. What do we mean when we use the term obese? Who does obesity affect? And, who has a role in curbing the growing trend of childhood obesity -- parents? schools? local governments? The questions lead to a dynamic discussion and RFCLG extends tremendous thanks to participants involved in the forum. To read a full report on this forum, CLICK HERE.

Russell Forum for Civic Life in Georgia will host its next informal forum on Friday, May 21st from 3:00-4:30PM in the Russell Library auditorium. The topic: America's Role in the World: What Does National Security Mean in the 21st Century? For more information call (706) 542-5788 or visit The dates for all of our upcoming public forums can be found on the Russell Forum Training and Program Calendar.

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