Researchers have offered a veritable take-out bucket of reasons for the growing problem of childhood obesity. Their theories include the ubiquity and cunning of ads, youth-attractive packaging, unhealthy ingredients, lax parental supervision, and sedentary lifestyles. Whatever the reasons, youth obesity is a public health crisis. Too many kids — across the country and, most urgently for us, here in St. Louis — are acquiring the bad eating and living habits that will ruin their health for life.
With a variety of public and private partners, I have spent the last year helping focus the efforts of local health partners into the St. Louis Obesity Initiative.
Early this week, Gov. Matt Blunt and I will announce the newest weapon in the battle: a wide-ranging new City partnership with the state of Missouri, dozens of local community groups on both sides of the river, and several major foundations to connect all of us to each other, to raise general awareness of healthier lifestyles, and to model some innovative programs in three local schools.
The announcement — and the effort itself would not be possible without the strong support of the St. Louis Rams (through team star Steven Jackson and the Rams Foundation), the Greater St. Louis Community Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Sports Philanthropy Project.