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For Release: September 24, 2008
Contact: Office of Communications
Pamela Williams
405/271-5601

Oklahoma Statewide Physical Activity and Nutrition Task Force Announce State Plan To Combat Obesity

 Tired of being listed in the bottom of national health rankings, the Oklahoma Fit Kids Coalition along with public health officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) released a statewide plan today to address obesity through increased physical activity and better nutrition. Called “GetFit EatSmart: The Oklahoma Physical Activity and Nutrition State Plan,” it was endorsed by more than 400 Oklahoma citizens, state and local organizations.  

Oklahoma’s obesity rate for adults is 8th highest in the nation and for high school students is tied for 6th highest in the nation, according to reports by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Obesity impacts all aspects of physical and mental health and is directly related to inactive lifestyles and poor nutrition. “GetFit EatSmart: The Oklahoma Physical Activity and Nutrition State Plan” outlines a statewide effort to prevent and reduce obesity and other chronic diseases by promoting healthy eating and physical activity. 

The plan focuses on making healthy eating and active lifestyle choices available and accessible for all Oklahomans where they live, work, get their healthcare and learn.  A primary focus of the plan will be to assist schools, communities, worksites, and healthcare facilities in establishing priorities for environmental and policy change.

The Oklahoma Physical Activity & Nutrition Program (OKPAN) was funded by the CDC to develop the plan and build capacity for implementation. The objectives of the plan are to:

•       Increase physical activity

•       Increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables

•       Reduce the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages

•       Increase breastfeeding initiation, duration and exclusivity

•       Reduce the consumption of high energy dense foods

•       Reduce screen-time

•       Expand surveillance and evaluation efforts 

 “This state plan will complement and serve as an excellent framework for the Strong and Healthy Oklahoma initiative and the many efforts of organizations such as Oklahoma Turning Point partnerships, Southern Plains American Indian CEED REACH US, businesses, cities and rural areas that are challenging each other to eat better and add more physical activity to their daily lives,” said Oklahoma Fit Kids Coalition Chairman and INTEGRIS Health CEO, Stan Hupfield.

“Improving our health is the most important investment that we can make for the future of our families and all of Oklahoma,” added Secretary for Health and State Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Crutcher.

 “The food and activity choices we make today affect us both now and in the future.  Choosing foods sensibly, and balancing food and physical activity, are basic steps necessary to set the stage for lifelong health,” said Oklahoma Food Policy Council Chair Anita K. Poole.

Coalition of Oklahoma Breastfeeding Advocates Co-chair Rebecca Mannel said, “A healthy Oklahoma starts with our nursing babies. When babies are breastfed for a year or more, they are more likely to be fit and healthy as adults. We need to create more supportive environments – in our hospitals, in our workplaces, in our communities – to make breastfeeding the easiest choice for mothers.” 

“Involving children and families in healthy activities and nutrition selections early in life will enable us to continue to bring about positive changes that can ultimately reduce obesity among children and future generations,” said Oklahoma Action for Healthy Kids Chair Sherry Fisher.

Some of the organizations represented at the news conference were INTEGRIS Health, the Coalition of Oklahoma Breastfeeding Advocates (COBA), Oklahoma Food Policy Council, Oklahoma Action for Healthy Kids, Sustainable Agriculture/Farm to Schools program and the Screen Time/After School Network. 

For more information, contact The Oklahoma Physical Activity & Nutrition Program (OKPAN) at (405) 271-4072 or e-mail OKPAN@health.ok.gov. To view the report, visit this Web site: http://ocds.health.ok.gov.

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