Reps. Cohen, DeLauro and Schakowsky Introduce Bill to Address Childhood Obesity

July 26, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-3) and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) today introduced legislation to address the epidemic of childhood obesity in America which not only has implications for the future health of these children but also has a bearing on future national health care costs and national security. Today, one in three American teens and children are overweight or obese, placing them at risk of a host of cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

“I was disheartened to learn that Tennessee has the highest childhood obesity rate in the nation. The national childhood obesity rate is a dangerous 31 percent but Tennessee’s is a staggering 38 percent. Fortunately, research has shown that early childhood is an important time for developing positive dietary and physical activity behaviors. I am pleased that the bill that Congresswoman DeLauro and Congresswoman Schakowsky and I are introducing would encourage those positive behaviors. Our bill would create a competitive grant program to incentivize the development of earlier health and nutrition education environments for our children. We have to help our children get healthy starts so they can lead healthy lives.”

Congresswoman DeLauro made the following statement:

“The United States is currently facing a childhood obesity epidemic, with more than one-third of children and teens overweight or obese. We know that early intervention helps children learn healthy habits that will serve them throughout their lifetime. That is why I am proud to support the Reducing Obesity in Youth Act with Congressman Cohen and Congresswoman Schakowsky, which will provide the resources necessary to foster healthier communities.”

Congresswoman Schakowsky made the following statement:

“The staggering rate of obesity in America’s youth is an epidemic that cannot be ignored. The consequences of youth obesity are extremely serious and can last a lifetime. We owe it to America’s children to prevent obesity at a young age by promoting physical activity and healthy eating. I’m so proud to join Rep. Steve Cohen and Rep. Rosa DeLauro today in introducing the Reducing Obesity in Youth Act today. I will work with them and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass this legislation and give American children the active, healthy lives they deserve.”

The Reducing Obesity in Youth Act would create a grant program to assist in the development of healthier early care and education environments to improve healthy eating and physical activity among children from birth through 5 years of age. The bill is the House Companion to S. 2726, led by Senators Booker, Nelson, Carper and Coons.

Representatives Donald M. Payne Jr. of New Jersey, Eleanor Holmes Norton of Washington, D.C., Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, Tim Ryan of Ohio, Darren Soto of Florida and James P. McGovern of Massachusetts are original cosponsors of the House measure.

The bill has been endorsed by the Nemours Children’s Health System, The American Heart Association, Child Care Aware of America, the Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness at George Washington University, the Alabama Partnership for Children, the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children, the Society for Public Health Education, the American Association on Health and Disability, the Lakeshore Foundation, the National Child and Adult Care Food Program Forum, the Children's Environmental Health Network and Prevention Institute.