GLOBAL POLICY ON CHILDHOOD OBESITY

  • Advocate for Texas legislators to develop a statewide strategic plan to address hunger, nutrition, physical activity and obesity in children and families.

EAT

It is the policy of Healthy Living Matters to support access to, and age appropriate serving sizes of, healthy foods for all children in Harris County.  The following strategies are endorsed by Healthy Living Matters to support the overall nutrition policy:

E1. Support legislation and policies at the state level that incent the purchase of healthy foods with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) dollars.

E2. Advocate for the development and passage of a state law to create a grocery/food* store loan program to address the problem of food deserts. (*Not limited to grocery stores, may include local grocers, convenience stores, etc.).

E3. Support development and adoption of local laws to promote breastfeeding in Harris County, including recognizing designated breastfeeding-friendly hospitals, legally protecting breastfeeding mothers from harassment in public and while at work, and ensuring mothers are guaranteed a Mothers’ Bill of Rights.

E4. Encourage use of available public lands in Harris County for the development of community gardens and farmers markets.

E5. Encourage school districts and appropriate public programs to increase awareness and promotion of school food options for low-income students during the summer.

E6. Advocate for low-fat, low-calorie drinks in schools and childcare facilities.

PLAY

It is the policy of Healthy Living Matters to promote opportunities for safe, adequate, and appropriate physical activity for all children in Harris County. The following strategies are endorsed by Healthy Living Matters to support the overall physical activity policy:

P1. Support the development and adoption of “Safe Neighborhoods” Policy:

  • Eradicate abandoned houses;
  • Ensure sufficient public safety officer coverage, encourage community policing approaches; 
  • Improve animal control efforts to reduce stray animals;
  • Fix streets & sidewalks, promote Safe Routes to Schools efforts, build sidewalks in new developments, promote Complete Streets policy;
  • Improve lighting in streets and parks; and
  • Support the ongoing development of safe trails and parks, such as the Bayou Greenway Initiative and Utility Corridor Improvements. 

P2. Support Harris County School Health Advisory Councils (SHACs) in implementing policy that requires physical activity (PA) subcommittees and recommendations for joint-use agreements or community/school partnerships.

P3. Increase middle school physical education (PE) requirements to include moderate to vigorous activity for 6 semesters, high school PE requirements to 1.5 semesters, and make 1 semester of health education required for graduation.

P4. Institute a Texas policy on recess that encourages age-appropriate outdoor playtime.

P5. Conduct a study and encourage the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to establish guidelines for outdoor features on public school campuses to maximize outdoor physical activity.

LEARN

It is the policy of Healthy Living Matters to promote health education opportunities related to nutrition, physical education, and general healthy living for all children, families and caregivers in Harris County. The following strategies are endorsed by Healthy Living Matters to support the overall health education policy:

L1. Develop guidelines to educate and incent administrators, school teachers, child care providers, and other staff to eat healthy and be physically fit as role models for children.

L2. Support a comprehensive “Community Health Literacy” strategy:

  • Support a campaign  for healthy eating for families;
  • Expand community education programs on how to cook healthy;
  • Expand public programs that  teach  community and backyard gardening; and
  • Support a policy to expand coordinated school health strategies to grades 9-12.

L3. Establish state, city, and/or county healthy schools and healthy child care recognition programs with a training component.

L4. Promote outdoor classrooms and incorporate active learning into core curriculum subjects to increase physical activity in Harris County school districts.