Sen. Johnson: Fighting Childhood Obesity is a Good Investment
Saint Paul, MINN – Sen. Alice Johnson (DFL-Fridley) introduced legislation last Friday to provide $65,000 to fund a study aimed at the reduction and prevention of childhood obesity. Today, Sen. Johnson took part in a press conference with advocates to talk about the importance of funding this study.
The nine-month program would serve 80 children who have been diagnosed as obese. Childhood obesity is an urgent issue around the country and at home here in Minnesota. In spite of the rising number of children diagnosed as obese, there are currently no intervention programs in place for referrals.
Neglecting to address the problem of childhood obesity puts more residents at risk for future health problems. “Currently when a doctor or school nurse identifies an obese child there are no intervention programs to refer that child to.” Sen. Johnson said. “The purpose of this study is too help develop such a program.”
The long-term effects of childhood obesity result in direct and indirect costs to the state. The Minnesota Department of Health estimates that the effects of obesity cost the state $2.8 billion annually. As a state we need to invest in interventions that support our young people and their families by offering them the tools necessary for healthier lifestyles, not only because it is important for the well-being of our children, but because it is essential for the future of our state.