A special interim task force on children's health issues is looking at the potential health risks facing overweight youth in Oklahoma, and at possible ways to fight that trend. That's according to Senator Bernest Cain, who along with Representative Darrell Gilbert authored SB 708 creating the task force.
According to state and federal studies, as many as one in five Oklahoma children between 6 and 17 years old are significantly overweight or obese. At the same time, children have become more sedentary, spending more time watching TV or playing video or computer games. Experts say as a result, these children are at far greater risk for potentially deadly medical conditions later on, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
"I don't think legislation is primarily the answer, but those of us in public office have a terrific opportunity to raise awareness about how dangerous a problem this is, and to let parents and schools learn more about programs that could help our children be healthier. That's what I hope we accomplish with this task force," said Senator Cain, chairman of the Senate Committee on Human Resources.
The interim study on children's health issues will hold its next meeting on Thursday, September 6, at 3 p.m. in room 419-C at the State Capitol. Cain said this meeting would focus on programs that the Oklahoma City Public School system is using to address the problem of childhood obesity.
"No one wants their children to be at higher risk for a stroke or a heart attack when they grow up, but that's just what's happening. I'm hopeful through the work of this task force, we can spotlight this issue and help reverse this dangerous trend," said Cain.