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Governor Deal launches landmark initiative to improve childhood fitness

SHAPE merges efforts to combat obesity by promoting exercise and better nutritional options

Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia Department of Public Health today launched Georgia SHAPE, a statewide program merging governmental, philanthropic and academic and business communities to address childhood obesity.

“This affects all of us,” Deal said. “We must work together to improve the health of children in our state. Some suggest that we’re raising the first generation of American kids to have shorter life expectancy then their parents because of problems related to obesity. We can and will do better to promote healthy lifestyles.”

Flanked by First Lady Sandra Deal; Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health; and representatives from the Atlanta Falcons; the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation; the Atlanta Braves; Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; Coca-Cola and other important leaders, Deal challenged Georgians to tackle the state’s childhood obesity epidemic head on.


The evidence is clear that childhood obesity is a growing problem in the United States and an epidemic in Georgia — the state has the second worst rate for children ages 10-17. Nearly 40 percent of the children in our state are considered overweight or obese. Childhood obesity has serious immediate and long-term effects not only on health and well-being, but on the academic achievement of our children and the economy of our state.

Fitzgerald fully supports the governor’s initiative.

“Georgia SHAPE is more than fitness and exercise; it’s about bringing all of Georgia together to reverse the numbers. This really is a call to action by the governor,” Fitzgerald said.

The launch of Georgia SHAPE included the unveiling of a digital portal, one of many strategies aimed at addressing childhood obesity. One of the most exciting aspects of is the fitness directory, where visitors can enter their ZIP codes and the number of miles they are willing to travel. Based on the information provided, a list of area fitness programs will populate, along with details about each.

Additional strategies to combat childhood obesity are planned and include promoting breastfeeding, increasing physical activity and providing better nutritional options for students.

Every effort will be made to support regulations that provide 30 minutes of daily physical activity for every student at school. Child care programs that implement specific wellness policies and other related training will earn the Governor’s Award, which designates them as a Georgia SHAPE compliant facility. Developing a mini-grant program to provide resources for schools to employ innovative/evidence-based nutrition programs is also a priority.


+1 #1 Pickensmom 2012-05-23 16:14
In pickens county elementary schools this past year our children were only allowed 15 min of recess a day and one PE class a week, which was probably only 30 minutes or so. Will this 30 min of daily physical activity change that? They need to get out more and run off that energy or they will not concentrate in class, especially those who have ADHD like my son.
melissa gillette
0 #2 melissa gillette 2012-05-24 15:18
I agree with you pickens mom except on one point, they have gym twice a week. Twice a week would be fine, if they were able to have 2 20 minutes recess's a day. It is recommended that a child play hard ( running ) for an hour a day. To make up this lost time when my daughter gets home we would go outside and play and she also had soccer that she went to twice a week. Now that school is out we have been spending time with the squirt guns, slip and slides and sprinklers.

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