Childhood Obesity Legislative Working Group
MN House of Representative Kim Norton
Function: The Minnesota Legislature's Childhood Obesity Working Group was created to consider policies and strategies for Minnesota to reduce the obesity epidemic facing many states. Of special concern to the Working Group is the eating and exercise habits of the state's youth.
A Statewide Childhood Obesity Steering Committee was convened for one year in 2007. The task of the group was to build upon the state recommendations developed by the Minnesota Task Force on Childhood Obesity in 2006, by identifying key priorities and creating an action plan to address childhood obesity for the State of Minnesota. Minnesota's Childhood Obesity 5-Year Action Plan provides a stand-alone document that highlights three key focus areas for reducing obesity in Minnesota's children: improve school wellness environments so they support adequate time for physical activity and support healthy food environments in schools, establish and support community-based partnerships and programs to address social, economic and environmental barriers that contribute to childhood obesity in certain populations; and create a state childhood obesity measurement system.
In 2008, the identified priorities and action plan developed by the Childhood Obesity Steering Committee were incorporated into the goals and objectives of the Minnesota Plan to Reduce Obesity and Obesity-Related Chronic Diseases. Childhood Obesity Steering Committee members also endorsed Minnesota's Obesity Plan and provided important input, review and feedback during its creation.
In May 2008 the Minnesota Legislature passed new health care reform legislation supporting community-based health promotion and chronic disease prevention efforts statewide to reduce health care costs. The Minnesota Plan to Reduce Obesity and Obesity-Related Chronic Diseases is a key obesity prevention guidance document for SHIP.
Legislators and stakeholders convened an informal legislative working group that met four times during Fall 2009 and Winter 2010 to recommend legislative proposals that would assist in reducing the epidemic of childhood obesity here in Minnesota.
The key legislative recommendation from the Working Group to the 2012 Minnesota Legislature was to create and fund a Safe Routes to School grant program for Minnesota's towns and cities.
Co-chairs: Rep. Norton, Rep. Bob Dettmer. The group is a bipartisan, bicameral set of legislators that works together with stakeholders.
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