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More than 125 State Leaders - Including Governor, Lt. Governor, and Congressional Delegation - Endorse Campaign to Make Delaware's Kids the Healthiest in the Nation
Date:10/1/2007

NEWARK, Del., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than 125 leaders from throughout the state today, led by Governor Ruth Ann Minner, joined together to support a multi-year, statewide campaign to Make Delaware's Kids the Healthiest in the Nation. The campaign, launched by Nemours Health and Prevention Services (NHPS), will encourage and celebrate the efforts of schools, communities, health professionals, parents, and other leaders to improve the motivation, opportunity and ability for children to eat right and be more physically active.

In Delaware, childhood obesity affects all communities -- with approximately 36% of children and youth having an unhealthy weight -- and those rates continue to rise. This epidemic has a significant impact on the state's economy as well, currently costing Delaware at least $207 million in medical expenditures every year.

"Obesity is a national and statewide epidemic, and can lead to devastating, long-term health risks for our children. That is why many leaders, from all parts of the state, have pledged today to help Delaware's children live a healthy lifestyle," said Debbie I. Chang, Senior Vice President and Executive Director of NHPS. "They understand that kids can't do it alone when it comes to eating healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables, being more physically active, reducing recreational screen time, and avoiding sugary beverages. And, they know that kids can't do it alone when it comes to making these opportunities available in all communities."

NHPS has been working for more than three years to improve the ability for Delaware kids to make healthy choices. "We have done that by reaching out to kids in all the places where they spend their time, like schools, child care centers, community centers, and doctor's offices. This campaign is an amplification of our ongoing work, a means to accelerate policy and practice change in places where kids live, learn, and play," said Chang.

The campaign has two components, which reinforce each other, and work together to Make Delaware's Kids the Healthiest in the Nation.

The first component of the campaign will focus on policy and practice changes that can enable Delaware's children and youth to live healthier lives. The audiences for this component of the campaign include: state, legislative, and municipal policymakers; school superintendents; leaders of community organizations; primary care providers; child care center operators; and concerned parents. The theme of this campaign component is that our Kids Can't Do it Alone, and that it will take the collective action of committed adults to create environments in which kids can eat healthy foods and engage in more physical activity. This message will be communicated through statewide print and billboard advertisements as well as through radio and TV spots.

The second component of the campaign is aimed at parents and children, and will focus on what children can do to adopt the 5-2-1 Almost None lifestyle for healthy living -- eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day, spending no more than two hours per day in front of a screen (TV, video games, recreational computer time), getting at least one or more hours of physical activity per day, and drinking almost no sugary beverages (like soda and sports drinks). This component also will address how parents can model healthy behavior for their kids and will provide them with appropriate information tips and resources on how they can implement 5-2-1 Almost None in their homes and in their communities. The messages for this campaign component will be communicated through a number of sources, including: The Mighty Timoneers, an animated mini-series that will air on television throughout Delaware beginning this Fall; a website; and a kids Activity Kit with a companion parent's guide.

"We are fortunate to be joined in this campaign by many individuals and organizations who share our desire to make Delaware a healthier state - for all 225,000 children who live here," said Chang. "Our goal is to become the first state in the country to actually see childhood obesity rates decline. And, we believe we are the only state mobilizing so many child advocates around this important goal."

"So whether you're business leaders, educators, legislators, health care workers, child care providers, parents or all of the above, we have a stake in this campaign. Together, we really can make Delaware's kids the healthiest in the nation."

To learn more about the Campaign to Make Delaware's Kids the Healthiest in the Nation, visit http://www.GrowUpHealthy.org

Nemours Health and Prevention Services (NHPS),http://www.GrowUpHealthy.org, is a division of Nemours, is a nonprofit organization based in Newark, Delaware, works with communities to help children grow up healthy. Our goal is to drive long-term changes in policies and practices that promote child health and to leverage community strength and resources to have the greatest impact on children. One of our initial areas of emphasis is childhood obesity prevention through the promotion of healthy lifestyles.

NHPS is a division of Nemours, one of the nation's largest pediatric health systems, operating the Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children and outpatient facilities throughout the Delaware Valley and northern and central Florida. NHPS expands Nemours' reach beyond clinical care to consider the health of the whole child within his or her family and community.


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SOURCE Nemours Health and Prevention Services
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