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CINCH sponsors second obesity summit

Story Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2013 16:24:00 EDT
CINCH obesity summit
Portsmouth Mayor Kenneth Wright talks about‌ efforts to address excessive obesity rates in Portsmouth.

On March 22, the Consortium for Infant and Child Health (CINCH) at EVMS hosted its second Combating Obesity: The Healthy Hampton Roads Leadership Summit. More than 300 regional leaders and citizen advocates interested in building healthy communities attended the event.

This year's summit focused on providing practical information and resources to help put into action the obesity prevention strategies that were presented at the first summit in October 2011. Attendees learned evidence-based approaches and what local organizations are doing to promote healthy eating at work, how improving community design can help promote walking & biking, how to set up and maintain a community garden, ways to develop skills to work with families and children on weight and activity, and more.

The summit also helped advance the growing Healthy Hampton Roads movement, which involves several area city governments and citizen action groups. Portsmouth Mayor Kenneth Wright spoke about the city’s new Get Healthy, Portsmouth! Mayor’s Initiative. The new program will collaborate with the existing Healthy Portsmouth Coalition to promote healthy weight, physical activity and healthy eating. The Mayor has made a personal commitment to lose weight and is sponsoring programming to help Portsmouth lose 500,000 pounds in the next year.

Obesity rates in Hampton Roads among adults are some of the highest in the nation. In Portsmouth, more than 39 percent of adults are obese (Body Mass Index of 30 and above). Obesity trends among children are similar. Since 1980, obesity prevalence among children and adolescents has almost tripled. Children in Hampton Roads are heavier than the national and state averages, according to Amy Paulson, Director of CINCH.

The summit was produced with support from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth and EVMS.

CINCH is a nationally recognized child health coalition whose mission is to engage the community to improve children’s health. CINCH has improved immunization rates, asthma management and perinatal health; enrolled thousands of children in health insurance programs; promoted implementation of community obesity prevention policies; trained thousands of local health and service providers on children’s health issues; advocated for a multitude of child health issues; and brought significant resources into the region to improve children’s health. CINCH also manages the Healthy Portsmouth initiative on behalf of the City of Portsmouth. CINCH is a program of EVMS.