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Senator raises awareness on obesity in Missouri

March 18, 2002
By: Justin Herndon
State Capital Bureau

The problem of obesity in Missouri gains the attention of the State Senate.

Justin Herndon has the story.

OutCue: SOC

Senator Mary Bland says she wants to create a Missouri Commission on the Prevention and Management of Obesity.

Bland says she feels a personal connection to the people this bill will help.

Actuality: obese5.wav
RunTime: 28
OutCue: its difficult
Contents: "I, myself, have an obesity problem and I know that and I'm trying to make better choices andnot have ice cream at 2 in the morning and its difficult."

Bland says it is difficult for children when schools do not offer enough helathly options at lunch but she also says that problem is the responsibility of adults.

Actuality: obese2.wav
RunTime: 11
OutCue: take responsibility
Contents: "Most importantly we must take responsibility of our children's health, even when we are letting our own health go down the tubes, we need to take responsibility."

Bland says one in every five children faces the risk of being obese and that could lead to serious and chronic health problems later in life.

Her bill would make a commission that consists of nutrionists, and doctors which would meet quarterly for two years.

The commission would make suggestions to the legislature on a plan to help treat obesity.

Senator Sarah Steelman, who voted in favor of the legislation, says any legislation aimed at treating obesity would help.

Actuality: obese1.wav
RunTime: 20
OutCue: would be positive
Contents: "Anything we can do to help prevent problems will help keep health costs down and that would be positive"

Bland says the bill helps prevent the problems before they begin.

She says children don't exercise enough and are becoming more dependent on cars and buses than on walking and that only advances the problem.

Actuality: obese3.wav
RunTime: 14
OutCue: make our health better
Contents: "very little activity and we hope to call the attention of the nation and this state on how to use preventive measures and fix it and make our health better."

Senator Bland says this bill would at least be a step in the right direction and if nothing is done now it will only risk more problems down the road.

Actuality: obese4.wav
RunTime: 17
OutCue: what I'm hoping for
Contents: If we look at it as what it really is, a potentional death sentence and realize we are digging our graves with our teeth then we can re focus and we can all be winners."

Winners, Bland says, because Missourians will change their mindset and eventually change their lifestyle.

Bland's bill has gained the approval of the Public Health and Welfare Committee and now awaits the consent of the full Senate.

In Jefferson City, Justin Herndon.