New "Take the Lead" PSA to highlight Childhood Overweight and Obesity Prevention Initiative

WASHINGTON, April 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Surgeon General today released two public service announcements, in English, "Take the Lead" and in Spanish, "Mi Cocina," on childhood overweight and obesity prevention. Both PSAs encourage families to be physically active and eat healthy foods. The PSAs were released on the first day of National Public Health Week, which is April 6 – 12, 2009.

The Office of the Surgeon General is disseminating the PSAs as part of its "Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future" public information initiative.

The new PSAs encourage adults to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles to improve their personal health and set an example for children to follow. More than 12.5 million children and adolescents — 17.1 percent of people ages 2 to 19 years — are overweight.

"Early intervention against overweight and obesity is crucial," said Acting Surgeon General Steven K. Galson, M.D., M.P.H., a rear admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service. "This is because children learn lifelong eating and activity habits at a young age."

As they grow older, overweight children and adolescents are more likely to have risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes.

"To ensure a healthy future for America's children we must help kids get the recommended 60 minutes or more of daily physical activity," Dr. Galson said. "Using family time to help children develop good habits will benefit them now and throughout their lives."

The National Public Health Information Coalition, an independent organization dedicated to improving America's health through public health communications, will help distribute the PSAs to health departments nationwide and promote posting the announcements to the departments' Web sites.

The PSAs will be featured beginning today on Washington DC's W*USA 9 as part of its 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, that brings attention to childhood obesity. In addition, the PSAs will be highlighted by Weight Watchers on www.weightwatchers.com.

In the "Take the Lead" PSA, children emulate the adults as they exercise, make healthy food choices, and practice good hygiene. The PSA closes with a message from Dr. Galson urging everyone to take a part in leading our youth to a healthy future. He also directs the audience to the Office of the Surgeon General's Web site to receive a parent or caregiver checklist. The Spanish PSA "Mi Cocina," takes a family approach, that encourages helpful tips on healthy eating. Both PSAs reinforce the importance of adults taking the lead in setting healthy examples.

For more information about the Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future Initiative and to view the PSAs, please visit http://www.surgeongeneral.gov.

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

     CONTACT:  Jennifer Buschick     (202) 205-0143 

SOURCE U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Surgeon General

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