Leadership Message

Obesity is increasingly common throughout the world. It has reached epidemic proportions in the United States and developed countries, and is even increasing in developing nations. In Asian countries, where the problem used to be atypical, obesity is becoming more prevalent. In the United States, 27% of adults are obese and an additional 34% are overweight.


Portland, Oregon – SUN Community Schools Wellness Initiative As part of their holistic approach to promoting academic success for youth and family self-sufficiency, SUN Community Schools (SUN CS) in Portland, Oregon have addressed health issues and provided health services in neighborhood schools since the initiative began in 1999. As the obesity epidemic has emerged over those years, SUN CS have worked to incorporate anti-obesity strategies into the broader wellness efforts at their 64 sites.

Like most of the developed world, Scotland is experiencing an obesity epidemic. According to a 2010 government study, only the United States and Mexico have higher levels of obesity. In 2008, 26.8% of adults in Scotland were obese and 65.1% were overweight; for children the corresponding rates were 15.1% and 31.7%. It is predicted that by the year 2030, 40% of the population will be obese. The government has developed a Route Map to counter the problem head on and prevention is central to the strategy; establishing life-long habits and skills for positive eating behavior through early life interventions is critical.

Every Go!Healthy workshop at The Children’s Aid Society schools and camps begins with a rapid-fire, free-form brainstorm: what does the word “food” mean to you? We always get a broad range of answers: family, money, diets, yummy, culture, nutrients, and on and on. Having conducted this exercise dozens of times, I’ve had a chance to reflect on the many answers, and I’ve come to a few conclusions.