Ninety-four percent of Virginians support the need for 30 minutes of daily physical education in elementary and middle schools, according to a survey of more than 15,000 adults and young people by Y Street, a teen volunteer group. The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, VFHY, reported the survey's results in conjunction with its third annual "Weight of the State" conference in
In 2009, the state charged VFHY with tackling childhood obesity in addition to its work in reducing tobacco use among young people. Since then, the group has given out more than a million dollars in grant money to Healthy Community Action Teams distributed throughout the state. Recipients of the second round of biennial grants, 2012-14, include
The grants are for the support and establishment of community coalitions to use best practices, as identified by the
Conference keynote speaker, David Zinczenko, author of the
Zinczenko has worked on curriculums for nutrition education with New York schools and thinks schools can do more. "There's a lot of emphasis on spelling," he said. "I'd love to see a nutrition bee." He also emphasized the need to introduce an element of fun when working with children.
"We're accelerating progress in obesity prevention," said Heidi Hertz, prevention coordinator for VFHY, by concentrating on getting out a consistent message in the schools and the neighborhoods.