"OOOO-klahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain..." It’s hard to write about Oklahoma without hearing the famous Broadway tune in your ear, but Oklahoma has much more to offer than just waving wheat.
The Oklahoma Fit Kids Coalition is a positive solution to childhood obesity. Founded in 2006, the statewide coalition aims to create a robust future workforce through education, legislative change and advocacy. Today, 30% of adults in Oklahoma are obese, making it the 6th most obese state.
In order to ensure a healthy future population, Oklahoma's health initiatives are mainly targeted at children to get them excited about wellness. The two main goals are:
- Increase physical activity for Oklahoma school children.
- Create a baseline of health and fitness data, and raise awareness of the issue, through Student Fitness Testing.
The Mission of the Oklahoma Fit Kids Coalition is to improve the health and well being of Oklahoma's youth and families by reducing childhood obesity. They envision an improved health environment and a shift towards healthier behaviors by children and youth throughout the state.
It is important to note that Oklahoma currently has the 3rd highest rate of tobacco use in the nation. 25% of adults and 31% of high school students smoke, which could be a contributing factor to the high level of obesity and generally poor health. Oklahoma has the 5th highest diabetes rate in the country and the 8th highest rate of hypertension. This, combined with a pitifully low consumption of fruits and vegetables (only 9% of adults get the recommended daily intake), contributes to a dangerously unhealthy population.
Although Oklahoma leaders are clearly making an effort when it comes to the future well being of the state, there seems to be a lack of incentives in place to address the many problems the state faces today. Let's hope the state's wellness programs take root and turn things around soon!