Perhaps more help is on the way for personal trainers working against obesity and inactivity.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tennessee) and Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico) and Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut) in early June introduced comprehensive legislation aimed at reducing obesity, particularly among children and adolescents.
The “Improved Nutrition and Physical Activity Act,” or “IMPACT Act,” updates a bill originally introduced in the 107th Congress in 2002. It recognizes significant problems associated with obesity including heart disease, diabetes and cancer and works to reduce those problems by encouraging better nutrition and more physical activity.
This legislation proposes to:
- Add obesity, overweight and eating disorders to the list of priority conditions to be addressed by health professionals and Title VII training grants and train practicing health professionals about proper methods to diagnose, treat and prevent obesity and eating disorders.
- Authorize $60 million in fiscal year 2004 to create a demon- stration program that funds community organizations to conduct a variety of activities, which have showed some benefit for curbing obesity and eating disorders, with $5 million allocated to eating disorder activities during that period. These programs will focus on specific community interventions, school- based activities and health care delivery system programs.
- Provide additional authority for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to collect information regarding fitness levels and energy expenditure among children.
- Authorize a study by the Institute of Medicine to examine the Department of Agriculture's food supplement programs (i.e., Women, Infants and Children, School Lunch Program, Food Commodity Program) to determine whether they con- tribute to preventing or enhancing obesity among low-income populations.
- Direct the Agency for Healthcare Research Quality in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to review any new information relating to obesity trends among various sub-populations and include such information, where it is relevant, in its health disparities report.
- Allow states to use their Preventive Services Block Grant money for community education on improved nutrition and increased physical activity.
- Instruct the Secretary of HHS to report on what research has been conducted on obesity treatment and prevention, what has been learned from this research and what future research should be conducted.
- Ask the Secretary of HHS to report on the effectiveness of the Youth Media Campaign in changing children’s behaviors and reducing obesity.
For a look at how trainers are getting involved in reducing obesity and increasing activity in schools, turn to page 22.