For Immediate Release

Child Obesity is Focus of California Public Health Association – North Meeting

Washington, DC, March 5, 2004 – Child obesity and health will be the focus of the annual California Public Health Association-North (CPHA-N) meeting, to be held March 12, 2004, in Oakland, Calif. The conference, entitled “Child Obesity and Health: Strategies and Solutions,” will draw public health leaders from across California and provide an opportunity to address an important public health issue on both a state and national level.

Speakers will include American Public Health Association (APHA) President Virginia Caine, MD; Pat Crawford, DrPH, RD, co-director of the Center for Weight and Health, Department of Nutritional Science at University of California, Berkeley; Kate Clayton, MPH, director of the City of Berkeley's Chronic Disease Prevention Program; and Harold Goldstein, DrPH, executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy. Crawford will lead a panel discussion entitled “The Supersizing of Californians”; Clayton will moderate an afternoon session regarding community health partnerships for food access and security; and Goldstein will participate in a discussion on “Transforming the Agenda: California's Food Policies.”

Additional workshops will address local level initiatives, strategies for effecting change in schools and communities, and measures to improve the food and nutrition of children. Conference objectives include educating attendees about policies and legislation affecting childhood obesity prevention in California and providing tools and practices that can be applied locally in order to fight the nationwide obesity epidemic.

“We must ensure that healthy food choices and physical activity are accessible to our children,” said Caine. “Public health professionals across California have the opportunity to play a critical role in educating and intervening for long-lasting progress regarding childhood obesity.”

“We'd like to have public health have the same success in preventing chronic diseases that it had earlier in the century preventing infectious diseases,” said CPHA-N President Adele Amodeo, MPH. “We know that a broad, comprehensive approach involving community partners, providers, health departments and government is what is going to make a difference, and we have to start with our kids.”

CPHA-N, an affiliate of APHA, represents the diverse community of people who work to protect and promote the public, environmental and personal health of northern Californians. By working with government, schools, community-based organizations and public and private health care providers, CPHA-N influences the development of statewide policy and provides leadership in California public health. For further information, visit www.cphan.org.  

# # #