Common Council Committe Meeting

Important meeting to discuss obesity prevention, Youth employment, after-school programs, and workforce development:


John Rosenzweig, Chair
Anton Konev, Vice Chair

DATE: Wednesday, November 9, 2011

PLACE: City Hall 2nd Floor - City Court Room 209

TIME: 5:30 P.M.

RESOLUTION NUMBER 30.32.10R (As Amended)


Discussion on various Youth Employment and Youth and Family Services issues


Council Member Konev and Sano introduced the following resolution:

RESOLUTION NUMBER 30.32.10R (as Amended)


WHEREAS, according to the Centers for Disease Control, obesity among children has nearly doubled in the last decade. Obesity affects one in five children, ages 6-17, in the United States. Alarmingly, over 1/3 of American children, that is more than 9 million children in the United States, are either obese or overweight, and studies show today's children are not getting healthy food and the necessary exercise and activity for effective weight management and good health; It has increased by 54% among 6 to 11 year olds and 18% of males and 25% of females 12-17 years old are obese; and

WHEREAS, Hispanic and African-American youth are more likely to be overweight than Caucasian youth, 56% and 41% respectively. There appears to be a trend of obesity in African-American girls. The National Health and Nutrition examination survey conducted from 1988-1994 revealed that obesity has increased 40% in Caucasian girls, while the increase has been 150% in African American girls; and

WHEREAS, overweight children are showing up in doctors' offices with adult health problems such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and Type II diabetes. Some show early-warning signs of heart disease. Nationally, hospital costs related to childhood obesity have more than tripled in the past 20 years to $127 million, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity related disease cost the US economy more than $100 billion every year. Sixty percent of overweight five to ten year olds already have at least one risk factor for heart disease. The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends that health care providers consider screening all obese children over the age of two for elevated cholesterol levels. Habits that put adults at risk for CVD begin in the teens; and

WHEREAS, approximately 60% of all Americans age 18 and older report that they are physically inactive. It is estimated that approximately 35% of coronary heart disease mortality is due to physical inactivity. The significance of this relationship lies in the fact that coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and in New York State; and

WHEREAS, factors contributing to childhood obesity are:

· Environmental and family influence: excessive caloric intake; poor food choices; availability of high fat high sugar snacks and fast foods; busy families with less time to prepare nutritious meals; decrease physical activity/increase in sedentary activities such as watching television and playing video games; eating while watching TV; increase in soft drink consumption; increase in size of portions served.

· Decrease in Physical Activity/ Increase in Sedentary Lifestyle: fewer children enrolled in physical education classes. According to Catherine Macpherson, M.S., R.D., Illinois is the only state that requires P.E. be taken as a class through the 12th grade. According to the YRBS, in 1991 42% of 9-12th graders had daily PE classes compared with 27% in 1997. People are generally less active today in their leisure time. An average teenager has spent 3 years viewing television by the end of high school. According to Baylor College of Medicine, overweight children reported eating 50% of their dinner meals while watching television compared to just 35% by children who are not overweight. The average child sees 20,000 commercials a year, and many of these commercials are for unhealthy foods; and

WHEREAS, obesity has become one of the most significant public health problems in the United States today. In fact, in January 2002, the U.S. Surgeon General declared childhood obesity a national epidemic; and

WHEREAS, Without effective intervention, childhood obesity will dramatically impact all children’s futures, resulting in deep social, physical, and economic costs for an American society as a whole; Currently, childhood obesity is expected to result in the first generation of Americans whose life expectancy is shorter than that of their parents; and

WHEREAS, Overweight children are much more likely to develop severe health issues such as type 2 diabetes, a disease that, left untreated, leads to debilitating and life threatening complications such as cardiovascular disease, heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, blindness, kidney failure, amputations, depression, and cancer, sleep apnea and asthma. It is predicted that 33% of US population can have irreversible type 2 diabetes. Additionally, being overweight often undermines children’s social and emotional well-being by increasing the likelihood that they will be stigmatized by their peers, thus lowering their self-esteem and interfering with their academic achievement and successful transition to adulthood; and

WHEREAS, children prefer unhealthy food instead of fruit and vegetable; every food to go such as cheeseburgers, fries, shakes, as well as the fat in pizza, Chinese food, Mexican food, Taco Bell, chips, “junk food” is a very high source of carbohydrate; building the habits necessary to tackle one of the most urgent health issues how to make healthy choices about the foods and how much to exercise, learning about and engaging in activities that promote healthy eating and greater physical activity are the most urgent targets for today life; and

WHEREAS, fourty years ago, fourty-eight percent of U.S. children biked or walked to school. Today, just twelve percent of children arrive at school by bike or on foot; students who bike to school are more physically fit than their peers, and they’re more mentally focused during the school day. During this period, U.S. childhood obesity tripled, while the number of children driven to school increased nearly 400 percent, also adding to debilitating morning and afternoon road congestion coast to coast. Twenty-five million U.S. children and adolescents, more than 33 percent, are now considered overweight or obese, or at risk of becoming so. Health care costs for childhood obesity are estimated at $14 billion each year, and Americans spend $150 billion a year treating obesity-related illnesses. Children who bike develop healthy routines to help them reach their full potential, and maintain those habits for life; and

WHEREAS, With television, computers, video games, cell phones, gadgets, appliances, and other electronic devices life today’s kids are leading a more sedentary lifestyle and gaining weight, which puts them at greater risk for health problems; children do not walked more, had less physical activity, do less home chores; and

WHEREAS, Regular physical activity provides significant benefits for the treatment of persons with chronic disease and disabilities; Research has shown that regular physical activity can prevent the development of cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, high blood pressure (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 1996), diabetes (Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group, 2002) and osteoporosis (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 2004); Regular physical activity also helps treat a variety of common illnesses, including arthritis (CDC, 1999), diabetes (American Diabetes Association, 2004) and cardiovascular disease (NIH, 2002), reducing the need for medications and improving overall quality of life; Physical inactivity and unhealthy eating are significant factors leading to overweight and obesity in children and adults; An estimated 365,000 deaths each year are attributed to these behaviors (Mokdad, 2005), and

WHEREAS, Regular physical activity during childhood and adolescence helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints; helps control weight, build lean muscle, and reduce fat; reduces feelings of depression and anxiety; promotes social well-being, as well as physical and mental health - which may help increase student’s capacity for learning. Children who are physically active have more stamina and energy. Physical inactivity has contributed to an unprecedented epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States. Children as young as 10 have shown signs of heart disease. Good eating habits and physical activity are the best ways to avoid heart disease. Physical activity does not refer only to organized sports. Physical activity is anything that gets your children moving! Opportunities and motivation to be physically active begin in the home. Children are more likely to be active if their parents and siblings are active and if their parents support the child’s participation in physical activities; and

WHEREAS, over one million young people in New York are considered obese, and many more are at risk of becoming obese as a result of poor eating and exercise habits; Studies link obesity with increased health problems and health care costs that escalate with age; In 2003, adult obesity related costs were estimated at nearly $6.1 billion in New York; Schools can play a key role in reversing the child obesity epidemic in New York; The New York State Department of Health estimates that one in four New Yorkers under the age of 18, or approximately 1.1 million young people, is obese; This childhood obesity crisis, in turn, is fueling a health care cost crisis, with an estimated annual $242 million in medical costs attributed to these children, which is putting even greater strain on the New York State budget; Approximately one quarter of New York adults report no leisure time physical activity in the past month; and

WHEREAS, the Common Council would like to provide a way for residents of City of Albany to get moving and reduce their risks for these potentially serious health problems, to prevent and reverse the tide of childhood obesity; and

WHEREAS, failure to act decisively on this issue kills almost 3 million adults each year; nations must understand that taxing unhealthy food, regulating harmful marketing practices and standing up to the food industry are crucial to eliminating preventable children diseases, especially diabetes and obesity; nations must be engaged stakeholders from across the food industry for commitments to changing unhealthy foods, which includes trimming fat, salt and sugar content in products, and building markets in food deserts; and

WHEREAS, recently the United States President Barack Obama marked the start of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month of October with a proclamation calling on all Americans to "take action by learning about and engaging in activities that promote healthy eating and greater physical activity by all our Nation's children."

WHEREAS, the United States First Lady Michelle Obama created Let’s Move Cities and Towns program to help to combat obesity. The program includes a number of steps that a city must take in order to meet the goals.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Common Council of the City of Albany hereby creates a yearly “Get Fit Albany” award to encourage residents of the City of Albany to exercise. The criteria and judging of the award shall be determined by majority vote of the Common Council; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City of Albany is hereby joining the United States’ First Lady Let’s Move Cities and Towns program and the “Get Fit Albany” Award is the first step.