DENVER (CBS4) – Community members and the U.S Surgeon General’s Office teamed up on Saturday to battle childhood obesity.
The “2040 Partners for Health” hosted a health summit at Johnson and Wales University in Denver.
Childhood obesity is big a problem in America.
“We’re finding the prevalence of obesity in children is increasing,” said Rear Adm. Christopher Halliday, U.S. Surgeon General Chief of Staff.
As a recent study shows it’s also a problem in Colorado. Almost 22 percent of children in the state are considered overweight.
“You’re more likely to be obese in the future if you’re obese when you’re young,” 15-year-old Robin Alexander said.
Halliday says Colorado is on the right track. He toured the neighborhoods of northwest Aurora, northeast Park Hill, greater Park Hill, Stapleton, and East Montclair and found the areas are trying to promote proper nutrition and exercise programs.
“I would like to see this effort replicated throughout the country,” Halliday said.
Organizations like Groundwork Denver show young people how to be environmentally friendly at the same time getting them active outside.
“They need to know young they need to be healthy, live good lives and live long lives,” Mariah Montoya with Groundwork Denver said.
Childhood obesity won’t end anytime soon, but communities working together and children themselves changing habits will help.
“We kind of skip thinking, ‘You know this cheeseburger isn’t going to affect me now,’ but eventually it will and it could lead to these huge health problems,” Alexander said.
“Health care providers alone cannot do this. Communities need to be empowered and communities need to become involved in developing solutions,” Halliday said.
Surgeon General Regina Benjamin couldn’t make it to the summit because of a death in the family.