Find Your Legislator

Speak up about childhood obesity in your community

Rates of childhood and adolescent obesity have been on a steady climb for decades. Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Today, one of every three children and adolescents in the United States are overweight or obese. Only recently have reports emerged that for select parts of the child population, obesity rates dropped in 2013.

While obesity is easily defined as eating or drinking more calories that one burns through physical activity, solving the childhood obesity epidemic is not straightforward. Obesity is a multi-faceted public health issue that requires communities, families, government, industry, primary care and public health organization working together to change environments to better support healthy, active living. One of the ways that you can make an impact in your community is to contact your legislators and ask them to support policies that will make the healthy choice the easy choice for everyone in your community.

Take a moment to voice your opinion in five simple steps:

Find your legislators:

Locate your Federal elected officials by zip code: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/membersExternal Link

Locate your mayor by city and state: http://usmayors.org/meetmayors/mayorsatglance.aspExternal Link

Make an appointment, write or call:

All Senators and Representatives have multiple “district” offices. Call the “main” office (NOT the one closest to where you live, but the one in the biggest town in your district or state). Ask to speak to the District Director. Tell the District Director who you are and that you are calling to request a meeting with the Congressman/Senator. In many cases they will want you to meet with staff. This is fine, but insist on meeting with the District Director. They may ask for a request for the meeting in writing.

You can also effect change in your community by contacting your local school board officials and transportation or city planning officials.

Write a letter (or deliver one at your meeting):

Also, ask others in your family or community to write, or join in with a local coalition or  membership organization. There is power in numbers and members of

Congress and their staff pay attention to volume. If they get multiple letters on this issue, they will pay attention.

Follow up with staff:

Call the staff you meet with back every two weeks or so to ask for an update on your request. Staff will pay attention to a squeaky wheel.

Write a letter to the editor of your local paper:

To raise awareness for childhood obesity, consider writing a letter to the editor of your local paper.  Make sure you mention your local Congressman or Senator’s name in your letter.

Source: NICHQ
Published: 2010