A report recently released by the Washington-based Trust for America’s Health indicates that North Carolina’s youth are the fifth most obese in the nation. The NC Youth Risk Behavior Survey (NC YRBS) says that only about half of high school and middle school youth are getting the recommended amount of physical activity. While at home, more than one-third of students watch at least three hours of TV every school day (NC YRBS, 2007). In late 2003, Lieutenant Governor Bev Perdue spearheaded the establishment of a study committee on childhood obesity within HWTF. The study committee issued its formal recommendations in 2005, which formed the basis for landmark policy changes relating to school nutrition and physical activity.
According to the “North Carolina Prevention Report Card 2008: A Progress Report on Prevention & Health in North Carolina 2005–2007,” North Carolina has more overweight or obese adults than two-thirds of the nation. Results from the Duke Health and Safety Surveillance System indicate that overweight employees file twice as many workers’ compensation claims, have nearly seven times the medical claims costs, and miss 13 times more work days per year than employees at their recommended weight.
Community and policy changes are needed to promote physical activity and improved nutrition for both youth and adults in North Carolina.