|Public Affairs - Press Release|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 27, 2004
Contact: Anika Mitchell Perkins
State and local leaders will gather at MUW to discuss obesity
COLUMBUS, Miss. -- Obesity is not an issue to be taken lightly, and on Wednesday, Nov. 3, local and state officials will gather at Mississippi University for Women to discuss the growing health concern.
“Mississippi leads the nation in rates of obesity in adults, and this is a health need that needs to be addressed,” said Dr. Joyce Yates, MUW professor of health and kinesiology and coordinator of graduate studies in health education.
According to the Mississippi Health Policy Research Center, the economic consequences of overweight and obesity for the nation were estimated to be as much as $92.6 billion in 2002.
A member of various state and national health committees, Yates is aware of the alarming statistics and the consequences of obesity.
“We’re constantly asked what are we doing in our communities about this problem,” she said.
MUW has been active in promoting healthier lifestyles with programs such as Commit to be Fit, a health initiative under Yates’ direction with the assistance of graduate students in the health education program.
Currently, MUW’s Office of Recreation and Fitness and the graduate program in health education’s Commit to be Fit are sponsoring Shape Up & Ship Out, a weight loss competition for faculty, staff and students, where the top prize is a cruise for two for each member of the winning team.
Despite these efforts, Yates said more community involvement is needed to address the health crisis, which is why she has invited 45 key community leaders to participate in an obesity initiative luncheon on campus.
The first meeting, which will provide an overview of the situation and solicit participant’s involvement in planning, will begin at 11:30 on the second floor of Hogarth Dining Center.
Columbus Mayor Jeffrey Rupp, Mississippi State Department of Health Chronic Disease Director Stephen Pate and Mississippi State Department of Education P.E. Coordinator Shane McNeil are among the agenda speakers. Facilitators will lead discussions and brainstorm sessions to identify problems and goals.
A second meeting will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at the same time and location to discuss objectives for addressing the obesity problem and develop plans for implementation.
Interested individuals are welcome to participate. To reserve a space, call the Division of Health and Kinesiology at (662) 329-7225 by Friday, Oct. 29 for the first session and Friday, Nov. 5 for the second session.
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