Statistics show 2.5 million children in the U.S. age 12 to 20 are severely obese, meaning that they weighing more than 100 lbs. over ideal weight. Some 19 percent of children age two to 14 in Tarrant County are obese, and, in the Fort Worth Independent School District, half the children are considered overweight. In Texas, some $5.7 billion is spent per year on obesity-related illness. The life expectancy of this generation is estimated to be lower than previous generations.
To help combat and prevent obesity, speakers at the annual North Texas Health Forum at UNT Health Science Center discussed various aspects of the problem, and promising local and national efforts.Registration for the event was sold out.
Speakers included Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Brooks; Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price; Steven Kelder, MPH, PhD, professor at the University of Texas School of Public Health and co-director of the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living; and Risa Wilkerson, MA, from the University of North Carolina and program officer for the national Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities initiative. A panel of community leaders --- includinged Eduardo Sanchez, MD, chief medical officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield Texas; Lou Brewer, Tarrant County Health Director; Don Wilson, MD, pediatric endocrinologist at Cook Children's; and Georgi Roberts, Director of Health and PE for the Fort Worth ISD --- discussed the issue from policy, clinical care and physical education perspectives.
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