On Friday, June 18, another crowd gathered to witness Gov. Strickland sign into law a bill that will affect all of Ohio’s children.
The Ohio General Assembly passed the Healthy Choices for Healthy Children legislation which will implement measures to decrease and prevent childhood obesity in Ohio schools. The hospital has been a driving force behind this bi-partisan legislation which will impact children in communities throughout the state. It is a great example of our strategic plan’s third horizon (health of all children) in action.
Ohio is the first state to respond to First Lady Michelle Obama’s challenge to solve childhood obesity within a genereation. Healthy Choices for Healthy Children takes a leadership role in addressing the issue by reaching children in the place where they spend the majority of the day—the classroom. The bill will improve the nutritional value of foods offered during the regular and extended school day and raise the bar for physical education. It also provides for Body Mass Index (BMI) screenings upon school entry and in the 3rd, 5th and 9th grades and a pilot program for daily physical activity during the school day.
Government officials in attendance at the bill signing included co-sponsors of the bill, Senator Kevin Coughlin (R-Cuyahoga Falls), Senator Eric H. Kearney (D-Cincinnati), and Representative John Patrick Carney (D-Columbus). Representative Tracy Heard (D-Columbus) whose district includes Nationwide Children’s Hospital also attended to show her support along with members of the Healthy Choices for Healthy Children Coalition. The Coalition is led by both Steve Allen and Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove, MD, as co-chairs of the Ohio Business Roundtable Childhood Obesity Task Force.
Through our strategic plan, we’ve made a commitment to creating optimal health for every child in our community. By being a part of this coalition and helping to champion this legislation, we are delivering on the third horizon of serving as a catalyst and coordinator for children’s long-term health around the critical issue of childhood obesity.
To learn more about the legislation, you can visit www.healthychoiceshealthychildren.org.