Newspaper article MinnPost.com

Obesity Prevention Isn’t Easy and Takes an All-Hands-on-Deck Approach

Newspaper article MinnPost.com

Obesity Prevention Isn’t Easy and Takes an All-Hands-on-Deck Approach

Article excerpt

We couldn’t agree more with Kari Winning's May 4 call to action for Minnesota to stay committed to combating childhood obesity.

While Safe Routes to Schools is one important component of this work, there’s so much more that Winning failed to address in her Community Voices commentary, “Minnesota must do more to address childhood obesity.” In addition to all that individuals, foundations, the media, and health care providers have done to educate families about the importance of nutrition and physical activity, Minnesota communities are doing so much more to help improve the health of our children.

The connector for these efforts is the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP), which is active in all 87 counties and 10 tribal nations. Through SHIP, local public health, tribal nations and local partners are working to increase opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity in communities across Minnesota.

SHIP initiatives and impact

Specific to children, SHIP efforts include expanding fresh, local produce through Farm to School efforts at schools, increasing time kids move during the school day through our Active Schools Minnesota initiative, supporting moms who want to continue breastfeeding, and working with child care providers to assist them in helping kids develop healthy eating and physical activity habits. In tribal nations, our grantees are using culture to create healthier communities. An example of this is reintroducing cultural activities like traditional lacrosse or stickball to encourage more physical activity.

SHIP is making an impact. Between 2016-2017 alone:

* 309 Minnesota child care providers improved policies and practices for healthy eating, physical activity and breastfeeding support, benefitting 10,127 children.

* 304 schools and school districts changed policies and made lunchroom improvements to support healthy food choices, reaching 156,406 students.

* 243 schools and school districts created policies and systems to make school food environments healthier, from concessions to celebrations, reaching 94,609 students. …

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