Call to Order and Roll Call
Thefirst meeting of the Task Force on Childhood Obesity was held on Tuesday, June 21, 2011, at<MeetTime> 10:30 a.m., at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, Terminal One, Navigation Room, 2939 Terminal Drive, Hebron, Kentucky. Senator Katie Kratz Stine, Co-Chair, called the meeting to order at 10:40 a.m., and the secretary called the roll.
Guest Legislators: Senator Dennis Parrett, and Representatives Ron Crimm, Tim Moore, Carl Rollins, and Rita Smart.
Guests: Gary Beatrice, Immediate Past Chair, Steve Stevens, CCE, President, and Blair Schroeder, Vice President, Public Affairs, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce; Barbara Schempf, Director, Public and Government Affairs and Kim Childs, Public and Government Affairs Specialist, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport; Christopher F. Bolling, MD, FAAP, Pediatric Associates, PSC Crestview Hills, Kentucky, Obesity Chair, Kentucky Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Program Chair, American Academy of Pediatrics Provisional Section on Obesity; Dr. Ruth Ann Shepherd, Division Director, Division of Maternal and Child Health, and Elaine Russell, Obesity Prevention Coordinator, Department for Public Health, Cabinet for Health and Family Services; Captain (CPT) John Harvey, Yellow Ribbon Program Officer-In-Charge, Kentucky National Guard; Sergeant First Class (SFC) Charles Miller, Kentucky Army National Guard Recruiting; Master Sergeant (MSgt) Tommy Caruso, Kentucky Air National Guard Recruiting; Steve Bullard, Department of Military Affairs; Technical Sergeant (TSgt) Lawrence Wigginton, Kentucky Air National Guard; Tracy Herman, Robin Chandler, and Jamie Sparks, Kentucky Department of Education; Therese Sirles, Kosair Children’s Hospital; Talley Cockerel, Mike Helton, and Prentice Harvey, Norton Healthcare; Andrea Plummer, Kentucky Youth Advocates; Tonya Chang, American Health Association; Charles George, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce; Marty White, Kentucky Medical Association; Bill Doll, Jackson and Kelly; Jodi Mitchell, Kentucky Voices for Health; Carolyn Dennis, Shaping Kentucky’s Future Collaborative; Teri Wilde, St. Elizabeth Healthcare; Ashley Teal, Kentucky State Senate; Russ Dix; and Pamela Perry, Amerigroup.
Welcome and Comments: Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Gary Beatrice, Immediate Past Chair, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, stated that the Chamber helps build stronger communities by staying focused and involved in the top business, civic and education priorities. The Chamber has grown to approximately 2,000 business members with a continued commitment to creating a prosperous community and outstanding quality of life for everyone. The Chamber is committed to enhancing the economic vitality and quality of life, not just in Northern Kentucky, but the entire Commonwealth. Top regional priority is the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor. There are several top priority capital projects including the Northern Kentucky Convention Center expansion and the replacement of aging water lines. Key regional transportation projects include Route 16 Taylor Mill Road construction, underpass at US 25 and Kentucky 338, and Mt. Zion Road, Kentucky 536, reconstruction to five lanes. More information is provided at www.nkychamber.com.
Welcome and Comments: Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)
Barbara Schempf, Director, Public & Government Affairs, stated that CVG is a major economic engine for the Commonwealth and the tri-state region, supports over 10,000 direct jobs and 50,000 jobs within the region, contributes several billion in economic benefit annually, is the Trans-Atlantic International Gateway for three states, and continues to explore all options to grow business and keep the airport competitive. CVG’s objectives are to obtain service diversity and achieve price stability by supporting Delta and DHL hubs, attracting low cost carrier service, reducing average airfares, and maintaining low operating costs for airlines. CVG works with the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Chambers, businesses, community and government leaders to transform and reinvigorate itself by actively seeking additional air service from current airlines and/or potential new entrants. The General Assembly can help by reintroducing a revised version of the Airport Jobs Creation bill that allows Kentucky’s airports to create separate operating units and by developing Airport Development legislation that provides a viable self-perpetuating funding source, with a minimum annual budget of $5 million, to invest in air service at Kentucky’s airports. The proposals would allow Kentucky’s airports to diversify revenue streams, ultimately reducing costs to airlines and improving competitive advantage to increase air service at Kentucky airports in other states. The proposals are designed to drive economic development and transportation throughout the Commonwealth. The steps support Kentucky’s position as a gateway to the world. Kentucky airports are direct links to job growth, business attraction and retention, and Kentucky’s signature industries.
Reversing the Trends in Childhood Obesity in Kentucky
Christopher F. Bolling, MD, FAAP, Pediatric Associates, PSC Crestview Hills, Kentucky, Obesity Chair, Kentucky Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Program Chair, American Academy of Pediatrics Provisional Section on Obesity, stated that the two worst states in the country for pediatric overweight are West Virginia and Kentucky. Studies have demonstrated that being overweight at age three and having at least one overweight parent are strong predictors of becoming obese. If a child is overweight by age nine, he or she is 11 to 30 times more likely to be an obese young adult. Approximately 15 percent of pediatric patients have a high Body Mass Index (BMI) in the 95th percentile. Obese rates are disproportionate throughout the state with the highest in African American and Appalachian children. Children now have Type II diabetes, sleep apnea, orthopedic diseases, and behavioral disorders. The number of super obese children is dramatically increasing. Some states have initiatives to help its citizens such as Keeping Maine Healthy, Eat Smart, Move More in North Carolina, and New Mexico’s Envision. Preventing childhood obesity also addresses quality of life, long-term health care costs, economic viability, public safety, and military readiness. It will take everyone’s involvement to solve the problem of obesity.
Dr. Bolling answered a question by Representative Wuchner by saying that BMI measurements are used within the medical profession to have one standard of measurement used by all medical professionals. The BMI is used to chart the progress made by a patient and show where improvements could be made.
Senator Pendleton stated that society has created the problem by taking physical education out of the schools and super-sizing food portions. Healthy food choices should be provided as an alternative to help reduce the obesity problem. Since the introduction of advanced technology, children tend to stay idle for longer periods of time as opposed to staying active most of the time. Parents and schools need to supply healthier foods.
Dr. Bolling answered a question by Senator Higdon by saying there is a very close correlation between individuals using food stamps and the obesity rate.
Representative Crimm stated that people need to be responsible for a regimented program that will help maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Representative Moore stated that the military is very careful to select the appropriate recruiters. He challenged the General Assembly to make healthier choices and initiative a weight-loss program during the 2012 Regular Session.
Trends in Childhood Obesity in Kentucky
Dr. Ruth Ann Shepherd, Division Director, Division of Maternal and Child Health, and Elaine Russell, Obesity Prevention Coordinator, Department for Public Health, Cabinet for Health and Family Services, stated that shifts in food environments include increased portion size, increased media advertising, increased availability of energy-dense foods, increased cost of fruits and vegetables, limited availability of fresh fruits and vegetables, and less physical activity. Since 1969, there has been a huge decrease in children who ride their bikes or walk to school. Today, the majority of children are driven to school. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) evidence-based behaviors to reduce obesity include increased breastfeeding initiation, duration, and exclusivity, increased physical activity, increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, creased consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, reduced consumption of high energy dense foods, and decreased television viewing. The CDC recommends policy change as one of the most effective strategies for making significant changes in obesity at the population level. The prevention and control of obesity include the community, school, workplace, child care, and medical settings.
At a 2004 obesity forum, the number one priority was to provide mandatory physical education in K-12th grades. Other priorities included increase healthy choices and develop legislative policies on food choices available in vending machines, improve work site wellness policies, provide additional safe, walkable communities and bike paths, and provide more low cost or free physical activity opportunities. In February 2005, the Kentucky legislature approved minimum nutrition standards for foods and beverages available on public school campuses during the school day. Schools may use up to 30 minutes per day or 150 minutes per week of curriculum time for physical activity. Kentucky also enacted legislation that gives a mother the right to breastfeed in public places she is lawfully entitled to be present and to be excused from jury duty if she is breastfeeding or expressing milk for her baby.
A grant to Kentucky from Southern Collaborative on Obesity Reduction Efforts (SCORE) focused on increasing physical activity and physical education in schools, establishing a BMI Surveillance System for youth, supporting breastfeeding in the workplace, requiring standards for nutrition and physical activity in licensed child care centers, establishing Complete Streets, requiring menu labeling at fast food and change restaurants, requiring healthy food in state agencies, and providing work-site wellness tax credits to business. The 5-2-1-0 Campaign focuses on eating five fruits and vegetables, spending two hours of less of screen time, having one hour of physical activity, and zero sweetened beverages every day. Another initiative is the farm to school program. Students grow food that can be used in the school cafeteria and sold in the community. Currently, there are 13 school districts with farm to school programs.
Dr. Shepherd answered a question by Representative Rollins by saying there is a policy-based guide that could be sent to School Based Decision Making Councils that helps provide guidelines for physical activity in schools. Ms. Russell answered a question by Representative Rollins by saying $462,000 of the SCORE grant was used for obesity prevention.
Senator Higdon stated that because of the importance of including water in a child’s diet, the schools need to provide better ways for a child to obtain the water than from the water fountains.
The Impact of Childhood Obesity on Military Readiness
Captain (CPT) John Harvey, Yellow Ribbon Program Officer-In-Charge, Kentucky National Guard, stated that childhood obesity has become a threat to our national security. Nine million 17 to 24 year olds are too heavy to serve in the military. Annually, the military discharges over 1,200 first-term enlistees before their contracts are up because of weight problems. Approximately 75 percent of America’s 17-24 years olds are unable to join the military, with being overweight or obese as the leading medical cause applicants fail to qualify for military service. During the past decade, the number of states with 40 percent or more young adults considered overweight or obese has risen from two states to 43 states. Over half of Kentucky young adults are overweight or obese. In the last ten years the overweight or obese rate went from 38 to 51 percent, an increase of over one-third. Weight problems have become the leading medical reason why young adults are unable to serve in the military, both in Kentucky and nationwide. A limited recruitment pool will hold back the military readiness and erode our national security in the long run. Childhood obesity rates can affect everything from recruiting and retention to the military’s ability to fight. Approximately 12,000 service members are lost annually because they are unable to maintain standards. The replacement cost per lost service member averages around $50,000. The Army is revamping its physical training.
Sergeant First Class (SFC) Charles Miller, Kentucky Army National Guard Recruiting, stated that health related issues are one of the most prominent obstacles for qualifying a future Soldier. The top three most common health related disqualifications found during the initial screening are overweight, any history of medical treatment for asthma or an attention disorder. In 17 to 20 year old males, the maximum body fat percentage allowed is 26 percent and is 32 percent for women. The maximum weight for a male who is 6 feet tall is 200 pounds. The maximum weight for a five foot, six inch female is 160 pounds. Prior to enlistment recruiters are forced to expand the search to lesser qualified applicants such as individuals with less than high school education, GED holders, and those with moral waivers. Recruiters have a larger pool of candidates while working with them to lose weight. After enlistment, recruiters spend a large amount of time working with new enlistees to prepare them physically for basic training in an effort to avoid disqualification while at basic training.
Master Sergeant (MSgt) Tommy Caruso, Kentucky Air National Guard Recruiting, stated that all applicants must meet a weight requirement based on their height. Each recruit must meet a physical fitness standard prior to departing for basic military training. Members must maintain an age-tailored fitness standard throughout their military career. The impacts on the Air National Guard recruiting is the loss of well qualified applicants and recruiters have had to become health coaches to discuss healthy eating habits, introduce a physical fitness program, and motivate and encourage recruits to meet fitness goals. Many applicants never achieve the necessary fitness standard to enlist. A large amount of applicants are so overweight, medical advice has to be sought prior to starting a fitness routine. Applicants that needed to lose weight to join have a tendency to revert back after returning from training. Initiatives include the Adjutant General’s full-time support physical fitness program, VA MOVE!, and Military OneSource.
MSgt Caruso answered a question by Senator Parrett by saying public outreach is the first step to inform high school students about requirements to join the military.
CPT Harvey answered a question by Representative Wuchner by saying the 51 percent of young adults 18 to 24 years old in Kentucky who are overweight or obese information came from the article “Too Fat to Fight: A Brief on Kentucky” from Mission: Readiness. Mission: Readiness is an organization of retired generals, admirals, and other senior military leaders who support policies and investments that will help young Americans succeed in school and later in life and will enable more young adults to join the military if they choose to do so.
MSgt Caruso answered a question by Representative Riner by saying the military prides itself on the importance of cardiovascular health.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 12:15 p.m.