COPE goes to Washington

We usually think of Childhood Obesity Awareness Month as a time for activities and education for our kids and families. This year, we spent the month discussing policy and recommended changes in Washington, DC.

Think about it for a minute – if we want better access to fresh food, more information about chemically altered foods, insurance paying for counseling, daily recess and Physical Education in schools, more playgrounds and bike friendly streets; where do we turn? To our policy makers, that’s where. So that is what COPE has done.

Two years ago we began drafting proposals for what we know will make a difference based on our after school program. Then we began meeting with some awesome congressional and senate staffers in Washington and held briefings to educate anyone interested in why the childhood obesity epidemic is more than poor nutrition and lack of fitness. COPE’s inclusion of therapeutic and behavioral health is a game changer. We know that. Now we are making sure Washington knows it.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust liked what she heard about COPE and invited Sandy Baker, founding director of COPE to address Childhood Obesity and our award winning after school program in the 2015 Kelly Report on Health Disparities. What an honor!

The Kelly Report brings together Members of Congress, medical professionals and public health thought leaders to examine the root causes and impact of health disparities in America and provide a comprehensive set of legislative and policy recommendations to address them. Compiled by CBC Health Braintrust Chair Dr. Robin Kelly, the report is a call-to-action for Congress to make improving health outcomes in diverse communities a top priority.

Sandy was invited to speak at the CBC Legislative Conference where the report was being released. Congresswoman Kelly had this to say: “I thank Sandy Baker and COPE for their contribution to the 2015 Kelly Report. Now is the time to address the issue of obesity in America, particularly in children. As the Kelly Report mentions, children with obesity are more likely to suffer from high pressure, hyperlipidemia, insulin resistance, diabetes, sleep apnea, asthma, discrimination, and self-esteem issues.

As we continue the conversation about reducing health disparities and achieving health equity in a generation, we must put childhood obesity at the forefont in the discussion.”

COPE is honored to have spent this Childhood Obesity Awareness Month in Washington, DC with policy makers making a difference in how childhood obesity is addressed. COPE’s inclusion of behavioral health as well as our parent component could be what is needed to change the outcomes we are seeing in this epidemic. We have the results to prove our method is a game changer and we are happy to share that with the country. We invite you to read the COPE article in Kelly Report or the whole 2015 Kelly Report for yourself.



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