Poll finds Americans want schools to combat obesity

Poll finds Americans want schools to combat obesity

Americans want schools to lead the way on fighting child obesity and helping children eat healthier foods, according to a new study from Kaiser Permanente.

Among those surveyed, African Americans and Latinos were especially supportive of having community groups help reduce obesity.

The survey found:

  • Respondents believe their local K-12 schools have the biggest role of any sector in fighting obesity, with 90 percent endorsing a role for schools on this issue.
  • 78 percent of parents think that healthier food in schools will increase academic performance and a similar percentage say regular physical activity during the school day will also boost school achievement.
  • Large majorities endorse new national school nutrition standards that include more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and less sodium, saturated and trans fats in meals. The public also supports extending these standards to foods that kids can buy at school outside of mealtimes.
  • Respondents are also willing to take actions to reduce obesity in their own lives and in their communities.
  • Parents also want more sidewalks, paths, trails and bike lanes to enable more children to walk and bike to school.

“These findings confirm there is widespread support for school and community involvement in combating childhood obesity,” said Mark DiCamillo, senior vice president of Field Research Corp., the group that conducted the poll for Kaiser Permanente.

“The results show a strong desire on the part of Americans to take actions to reduce obesity in their own lives, the lives of their families and in local communities.”

The telephone survey of more than 2,100 people included 326 respondents in Colorado. Those surveyed in Colorado believed that K-12 schools should be in involved in obesity reduction efforts. But fewer Colorado respondents than those surveyed elsewhere in the U.S. wanted the government and businesses to play a major role in reducing obesity.

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