Last year, Dayton Children's joined with fellow health care providers, Ohio’s business leaders, children’s advocates and other stakeholders to create the Healthy Choices for Healthy Children coalition. Our coalition’s first priority was supporting the passage of the Healthy Choices for Healthy Children legislation - Senate Bill 210 and House Bill 373 - because it is a critical first step in addressing the epidemic of childhood obesity in Ohio.
The bill will:
- improve the nutritional value of foods offered during the regular and extended school day,
- raise the bar for physical education,
- provide for Body Mass Index (BMI) screenings upon school entry and in the 3rd, 5th and 9th grades, and
- offer a pilot program for daily physical activity during the school day.
On May 18, the Ohio Senate passed the amended version of the bill, which included opt-out waivers for a requirement of 30 minutes of physical activity and BMI screenings for school districts demonstrating financial hardship. The Ohio House of Representatives passed an amended version of the Senate bill, creating a pilot program for districts to provide 30 minutes of daily physical activity in grades K-12. This amendment allows districts to opt in to a physical activity pilot program administered by the Ohio Department of Education. Districts participating in the pilot will be recognized on their district report card. The Senate concurred with the amended version of the bill on June 3. The legislation now heads to Governor Strickland for consideration.
In Ohio, one in three children born is overweight by age 8. We see the devastating effects of childhood obesity everyday – as these Ohio children are at higher risk for diabetes, asthma, poor mental health and chronic medication use.
The initiatives contained in the Healthy Choices for Healthy Children legislation will help us combat childhood obesity by reducing the disease burden in this state and curbing increased health care costs. This is a first step in Ohio law to combat the overwhelming epidemic of childhood obesity.
Your generous donations of time, money and resources help Dayton Children's provide quality pediatric health care services to all children regardless of their family’s ability to pay.