“…we’ve only just begun…”

In Uncategorized on September 14, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Lyrics from the Carpenters song of the same title. To say I loved that song is a tremendous understatement. “Before the rising sun we fly; so many roads to choose…” We’ve only just begun the fight; and you can fill in the blank. If I had to put a label to a conference or meeting, “We’ve only just begun” would have been the theme to the 4th Annual Obesity Summit.

The Stennis Institute, in conjunction with the Mid-South Network of the Rural People, Rural Policy (funded through the Kellogg Foundation), presented at the Obesity Summit in Atlanta on yesterday. The title of the presentation was “Changing our Communities, Changing our Future.” By looking into the three states part of the Mid-South Network (Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi) obesity data, we did a little more than present the horrific statistics and consequences of obesity, we looked into how communities have addressed this issue in a multifaceted way.

Obesity is not a public health problem, it is everyone’s concern. Obesity does not only cost the individual, it costs the family, the community, the society. Many of the presenters at this year’s conference focused primarily on how best not to discuss the consequences of obesity, but what can we do??? Many of this year’s presenters focused on successes that many communities and states have achieved. For instance, in Marvell, Arkansas, the Boys, Girls, and Adults CDC over the course of 4 years have instituted a community-wide walking club and nutritional classes. The Center has also leveraged grants from a melting pot of resources–federal, local, state, and not-for-profit agencies–to fund a walking trail.

Addressing obesity is not simple; but the solutions are in the efforts, whether they be small or grand, we’re only just beginning to tackle this issue like Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens tackled Dustin Keller of the New York Jets.

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