Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release:
March 4, 2008
Sen. Ron Justice
Measure Addressing Childhood Obesity in
State Approved by Senate
Childhood obesity rates are climbing nationwide and State Sen.
wants to change that trend in Oklahoma. On Monday, the Senate passed
Senate Bill 1612, which creates the Quality Afterschool Opportunities
Act to Reduce Childhood Obesity and Improve Academic Performance,
to combat the growing epidemic of childhood obesity through community
programs outside the classroom.
“Childhood obesity poses a major risk to the health and future
of our state’s children,” said Justice, R-Chickasha.
“It’s important that we help these children at a young
age because the older they get the more likely they are to be overweight
or obese adults and then they’ll be faced with additional
health and emotional problems.”
The State Department of Health has found that overweight adolescents
have a 70 percent chance of becoming overweight or obese adults.
In 2006, Oklahoma ranked sixth in the nation for obesity with more
than one out of every four adults being obese, a figure which has
more than doubled since 1990. In 2005, one in seven Oklahoma high
school students were found to be overweight while more than one-sixth
of the state’s children ages 10 to 17 were found to be overweight
“Oklahoma’s statistics are alarming,” said Justice.
“Obese children run the risk of developing heart disease,
type II diabetes, high blood pressure, some cancers and arthritis.
And besides the health risks, overweight youth also face social
discrimination stemming from low self-esteem and depression. This
is no life for a child and we must all work together to prevent
these risks and ensure the health of all of our children.”
The program would direct the Department of Health to award grants
to comprehensive, community-based afterschool programs that include
evidence-based obesity reduction components. Various community partners
would be in involved in the program including parents, schools,
child care providers, community- and faith-based organizations,
health care professionals, civic leaders and others.
“Not all families can afford a gym membership or to take their
child to a nutritionist. This program is about pooling the community’s
resources and talents to help these families be healthier,”
said Justice. “These programs would provide children with
a curriculum proven to prevent and reduce obesity through increased
physical activity and the promotion of healthy eating and nutrition
The measure will now move to the House of Representatives for committee
For more information contact:
Senator Justice's Office: (405) 521-5537