Georgia Makes Progress in Obesity Battle

Georgia Shape

Georgia is making progress in the battle against obesity.  

Just over two years ago Gov. Nathan Deal launched the Shape Initiative, which is aimed toward fighting childhood obesity.

The latest data shows the program is making a difference.

“The aerobic capacity, that’s your ability to run a mile, that has improved 2% in 5th graders and 1% on all grades.  There’s been an improvement of 2% for all grades for body composition and that’s the weight component,” says commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald, with Georgia’s Department of Public Health.

An audio version of this story.

Fitzgerald says it doesn’t take much for parents of pre-schoolers to get their kids starting on the right foot, health-wise.

“You only need to change 33 calories a day to put children back into the health energy balance they were in, in the 70’s, before all this trend of greatly increasing obesity occurred.”

Health officials also says when the younger members of a family are more health-conscious, the trend usually extends throughout the household.

“If you make these changes as a family, it’s probably going to affect the weight of everybody in the family.  So even though we’re focusing it on younger children because we’re trying to prevent things, these strategies can also help other family members to control their weight,” says Connie Crawley, a nutritionist with the University of Georgia.

Fighting obesity is a major issue for Georgia.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if current trends don’t change close to 54% of Georgians will be obese by 2030.