Skip Navigation
Text Size: A A A

Acting U.S. Surgeon General Visits The Big Dam Bridge in Arkansas to Promote "Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future"

Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Contact: OPHS Public Affairs
(202) 205-0143

Acting Surgeon General Steven K. Galson, M.D., M.P.H., will visit the Big Dam Bridge in Arkansas, the longest pedestrian bridge in the nation, on June 19, as part of his nationwide tour to promote the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future initiative.

The Big Dam Bridge spans the Arkansas River between Little Rock and North Little Rock, and the initiative targets prevention of childhood overweight and obesity and the promotion of healthy lifestyles, for young people. Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future showcases communities that address childhood overweight and obesity by helping kids stay active, encouraging healthy eating habits, and promoting healthy choices.

"I am honored to have the opportunity to visit communities across the country, like Little Rock and North Little Rock, and meet firsthand with people who are actively finding ways at the community level to prevent childhood overweight and obesity," said Dr. Galson, a rear admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service.

The acting surgeon general will present a Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future Champion Award to Eagle Mountain Health and International Studies Magnet Elementary School. The award is for its focus on healthy nutrition and physical activity. Melissa Johnson, executive director of the HHS President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, will also present an award recognizing Arkansas as one of five states to win the National President's Challenge, a six-week program to encourage Americans to be more active.

While in Arkansas, Dr. Galson will meet with key community stakeholders including representatives from business, industry, academia and other state and local leaders to discuss childhood obesity prevention and learn about existing prevention programs.

State Health Officer Paul K. Halverson, Dr.PH noted that Arkansas is being recognized for its work in preventing childhood obesity.

"The prevention of overweight and childhood obesity prevention are among the most critical challenges to our long-term state of health here in Arkansas, as it is across the nation today,"Halverson said. "We've made a good start on the problem in our state, but we have much to do. As with so many public health issues, we will all have to continue to work together to make real changes in our environment, our behavior, and our knowledge to make real changes happen."

According to 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 13.9 percent of high school students in Arkansas are overweight and an additional 15.8 percent are at risk for becoming overweight.

For additional information on the Surgeon General's Initiative, contact Jennifer Koentop in the Office of Public Health and Science Press Office at (202) 205-0143, or visit the Web site at:

For more information on the Big Dam Bridge across the Arkansas River, visit Exit Disclaimer.


Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at

Last revised: December 30, 2008