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Acting Surgeon General Promotes “Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future” and National Physical Fitness and Sports Month in the Nation’s Capitol

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEContact:  Kate Migliaccio
Monday, May 18, 2009(202) 205-0143


Acting Surgeon General Steven K. Galson, M.D., M.P.H., will make another stop on his nationwide tour to celebrate National Physical Fitness and Sports Month and promote the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Childhood Overweight and Obesity Prevention Initiative on May 18 in Washington, D.C. The initiative targets obesity prevention and the promotion of healthy lifestyles for young people.    

The Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future project brings well deserved attention to communities throughout America that are coming together to address childhood overweight and obesity prevention.  The project also recognizes local programs that use innovative approaches to encourage kids to eat right and exercise.

Rear Adm. Galson will present a Surgeon General’s Champion Award to the “Lighten Up” Campaign, a partnership between Children’s National Medical Center, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc., and W*USA 9 during an event with students at the Browne Educational Campus.  In addition to the Champion Award ceremony, the students will participate in The Amazing Food Detective, presented by Kaiser Permanente's Educational Theater Program which includes interactive play focused on healthy diets. Dominique Dawes, Olympic Gold Medalist, and Lt. Andy Baldwin, M.D., an Ironman Triathlete, lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, and also known as “The Bachelor” from the tenth season of the reality show will also lead the students in a physical activity exercise. 

“National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is a great opportunity to remind ourselves of the important benefits of being active” said Rear Adm. Galson.  “The ‘Lighten Up’ campaign is an example of achievement that results from powerhouse organizations coming together to help our young people develop healthy habits that will last them a lifetime.”

The ‘Lighten Up’ Campaign engages public policy representatives to support educational efforts and encourages parents, primary care providers and school nurses to use interactive resources to combat childhood obesity. 

“There is no better place to combat childhood obesity than in the nation’s capital, where we have the highest rate of overweight 10 to 17 year-olds in the country,” said Denice Cora-Bramble, MD, MBA, senior vice president of the Diana L. & Stephen A. Goldberg Center for Community Pediatric Health at Children’s National Medical Center. “As part of the LightenUp campaign, the Obesity Institute at Children’s National aims to help children and families nationwide avoid the health risks associated with childhood obesity, such as heart disease, and diabetes.”

“This campaign is about more than achieving a healthy weight, it's about living a healthier lifestyle," said Marilyn Kawamura, president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc.  "Our exclusive physician partners in the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group see the complications everyday and know all too well the best prescription for anyone is exercise as medicine for a happier, healthier life."

Childhood overweight is a serious health concern for children and adolescents in the United States. Since 1980, obesity has more than doubled among children ages two to five and more than tripled among youth ages six to 11 and adolescents ages 12-19. Additional information on the Surgeon General's Initiative can be found at www.surgeongeneral.gov/obesityprevention/index.html.

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