Coloradans Coming Together to Say “No More 24”
By Sarah Kurz, Vice President of Policy & Communications, LiveWell Colorado
Colorado has the lowest adult obesity rate in the nation according to a recent report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. But while Colorado as a whole is fairly healthy, the story is starkly different for Colorado kids. Colorado ranks 24th in the nation for our children’s level of physical activity. That’s barely better than average.
More than a quarter of Colorado children are overweight or obese, which increases their likelihood of suffering from health problems like high-blood pressure and prediabetes symptoms, and affects their academic performance in school.
Childhood obesity isn’t only a problem today; it’s a problem that will hurt a generation of adults. Many Coloradans are alarmed that our kids are in 24th place, which is why LiveWell Colorado’s newest initiative has Coloradans coming together to say “No More 24.”
Our statewide advertising campaign and website (www.nomore24.org) has Coloradans sharing stories about how barriers to healthy living – like access to healthy foods, recreation areas like parks and trails, and physical education in schools – affects our kids’ ability to be active and healthy. Other partners such as A-Plus Colorado, the Colorado Municipal League, Delta Dental of Colorado, Mission Readiness, and others have also joined in efforts to extend information about this important health issue.
We also reached out to parents and social justice advocates to raise awareness about childhood obesity through their Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube accounts. They shared personal stories about the barriers that prevent their own children, and children in their cities and neighborhoods, from living a healthy, active lifestyle.
Ivana Marie made a video where she talked about her affinity for physical education in elementary school and the role it played in helping her become a more active and healthy adult.Ivana’s video opened her YouTube followers’ eyes. They posted comments that further illustrated the challenges we face to make Colorado kids the healthiest in the nation:
Sabrina Perkins’ post on her blog Seriously Natural illuminated the even more distressing truth that health inequities are also a big part of the problem, and result in Hispanic and Black children being even more likely than their peers to suffer poor health.
“There is no surprise that children that look like mine are more likely to not have access to well-equipped parks and healthy food options at stores in their neighborhoods. Those are direct links to childhood obesity and we are here to change that.”
Sport, from the blog Meanest Look, focused on the challenge people in her neighborhood face when trying to access stores that sell healthy foods. (It shows why some people must instead purchase their groceries from convenience stores, which aren’t as likely to offer healthy food options.)
“We can’t deny the social injustice that is pervasive in childhood obesity. For example, my neighborhood needs access to affordable groceries and fresh produce. We have one store. I randomly pulled Google directions for a person walking to a grocery store from one of the two major neighborhoods I hang out in. Nearly an hour walk each way to get groceries from a supermarket. You can cut the time in half in you have bus fare.”
These Coloradans all got involved because they know they can play an important role in fighting for Colorado kids’ health.
We’re on a mission to recruit Coloradans who know that the fight to end childhood obesity doesn’t just happen at the dinner table, but in our schools, parks, city hall meetings and even at the state capitol. We can’t do it alone. We need people like you.
You can get involved in reducing childhood obesity statewide – right now. Here’s how:
- Take the pledge to end childhood obesity at NoMore24.org.
- Post a message on your social media profiles (or send a personal email) asking your friends and family to get involved by taking the pledge, too. Here is an example of a message you can post:
- Colorado kids rank 24th out of 50 states for physical activity. That’s barely better than average. But we can do something about it. Join me and take the pledge to help end childhood obesity in Colorado by visiting NoMore24.org
Childhood obesity ends with you. Are you in?
 Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “Colorado’s Child Health Survey.” 2013.