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Boston Schools Hailed For Fighting Childhood Obesity

Posted Oct 22 2012 4:46pm

From The Examiner…..

Four Boston Public Schools are being honored by former President Bill Clinton for their efforts at instituting healthy eating programs, but overall the state still has a ways to go before making a significant dent in the number of children who are obese or overweight.

Clinton and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation awarded Bronze National Recognition Awards to Richard J. Murphy K-8 School, the Kennedy Health Career High School, the Tech Boston Academy and William E. Russell Elementary School.

The achievements are the result of an alliance between BPS and the Alliance that was formed in 2007. In all, more than 100 schools participate in the program.

Murphy School was honored a health snack cooking class and instituting employee wellness programs that included Weight Watchers. Kennedy High School increased the number of healthier vending machine options in the school, created more fitness classes as well as those dedicated to health education. The Tech Academy worked with BPS Food Services and local farmers to include more fresh produce in their lunch program. Russell Elementary, meanwhile, made changes to their physical education program to add more vigorous physical activity.

“When the Alliance for a Healthier Generation approached us in early 2007 it was perfect timing because we were doing this kind of work but we didn’t have the capacity to work with all schools.” said BPS Health and Wellness Department Executive Director Jill Carter. “This program put it on the web and gave us the systematic framework. We were well positioned to take it and run with it.”

Overall, however, Boston and Massachusetts still lag behind much of the nation in combating childhood obesity. The state ranked 21st in the number of overweight and obese children in 2003. In the most recent ranking, Massachusetts fell one spot to 22. Nationally, the percentage of children 10-17 years of age who are obese overweight is 31.6 percent, while in Massachusetts it stands at 30 percent. Finally, Massachusetts spent an estimated $1.8 million in medical expenditures to treat obese adults from 1998 to 2000, while nationally, approximately $75 million was spent.

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