Obesity Summit

More than 200 people turned out for a childhood obesity summit held Tuesday at the William Penn Inn in Lower Gwynedd.

Speakers included U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Regional Health Administrator Dalton Paxman.  He said the number of obese and overweight children has more than doubled in the last two decades, causing other health problems.

“The data are all going in the wrong direction for obesity and for the associated illnesses of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other obesity-related illnesses.”

Doctor Paxman said childhood obesity is an epidemic.  The keynote speaker was Children and Nature Network Co-Founder Cheryl Charles.  She said the best solution is outdoor play.

“Getting the fresh air, being able to actually take appropriate risk, learning what it’s like to climb a tree or do any number of things that turn out to be fundamental to children’s health and well-being, their healthy development, so obesity would be a characteristic of changes in society right now, and one of the most powerful solutions is just opening the door and going outside.”

Doctor Charles said organized sports are fine, but unstructured play is important too.  The child obesity summit was sponsored by the North Penn Collaborative for Health and Human Services.