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Acting U.S. Surgeon General to Kick Off National Tour on Childhood Overweight and Obesity Prevention Initiative "Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future" Inaugural Meeting in Charleston, W. Va.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 10, 2008
Contact: OPHS Press Office
(202) 205-2367

Acting U.S. Surgeon General Rear Adm. Steven K.Galson, M.D., M.P.H., will start his nationwide tour to promote the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Childhood Overweight and Obesity Prevention Initiative, which targets overweight and obesity prevention and the promotion of healthy lifestyles for children, on March 10-11, 2008 in Charleston, W.Va.

The "Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future" initiative focuses on recognizing and showcasing those communities throughout the nation that are addressing childhood overweight and obesity prevention by helping kids stay active, encouraging healthy eating habits, and promoting healthy choices.

"Today more than 12.5 million children and adolescents 2 to 19 years of age are overweight and are therefore at greater risk for numerous health consequences in life such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes," said Dr. Galson. "By taking a look at what each of us can do in our lives and communities to make ourselves and our families healthier we can begin to tackle this epidemic."

In Charleston, Dr. Galson will meet with Gov. Joe Manchin III, state Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Martha Walker, and other officials including state Commissioner of Public Health Chris Curtis. Dr. Galson will also meet with state first lady Gayle Manchin, who has been actively involved in the West Virginia Healthy Lifestyles program; a program dedicated to improving the health of West Virginians by promoting the importance of physical activity and good nutrition.

In addition, Dr. Galson will meet with a wide range of key stakeholders including representatives from business, industry, academia and other local leaders the morning of March 11 to discuss childhood obesity prevention and learn about existing prevention programs. Knowledge of this information will enable the Acting Surgeon General to create new partnerships and share information with other communities in order to combat the problem of childhood overweight and obesity throughout the United States.

"I am honored to have the opportunity to visit communities across the country, like Charleston, to engage in discussions about ways in which we can address the alarming crisis that is childhood overweight and obesity," said Dr. Galson.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the overweight prevalence in West Virginia has been consistently higher than in the United States as a whole since state level monitoring began. Approximately 15 percent of West Virginia high school students are overweight -- students who were greater than or equal to the 95th percentile for body mass index, by age and sex -- according to a 2005 survey.

Additional information on the Surgeon General's priorities can be found at www.surgeongeneral.gov.

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Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.

Last revised: March 05, 2010