Friday, November 13, 2015

Utah Organizations Launch “Eat Well, America, Combat Childhood Obesity” Campaign

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Is the way to a child’s health through his stomach? Three Utah organizations believe it is. This November, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH), American Diabetes Association®, and National Tongan American Society will launch the “Eat Well, America, Combat Childhood Obesity” campaign. The campaign is designed to raise awareness and show Utahns living with or at risk for diabetes, their loved ones, and anyone wanting to lead a healthier lifestyle how easy and enjoyable healthy eating can be.

Nearly 145,000 Utahns have been diagnosed with diabetes. “For years, our organizations have participated in American Diabetes Month observed each November to raise awareness of this devastating disease,” said Brenda Ralls, Epidemiologist for UDOH.  “Healthy lifestyles could help prevent a large proportion of type 2 diabetes and healthy eating is one way we can help reduce our risk of diabetes.”

Obesity is a health risk at any age, however preventing obesity through a healthy diet is particularly beneficial for children. Obese children have greater risk of prediabetes, cardiovascular disease, bone and joint problems, and social and psychological problems.

“Eating well is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and enjoying delicious, healthy food helps with diabetes management,” said Jeff Bird, Executive Director of the Utah American Diabetes Association office. 

Fahina Tavake-Pasi, Executive Director of the National Tongan American Society, states that “Pacific Islanders have one of the highest rate of obesity in Utah. We also have a high rate of death caused by diabetes. The National Tongan American Society is excited to add our support to this campaign and to help decrease obesity and diabetes in our community.”

Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among Utah adults aged 25 to 74. It is the 7th leading cause of death for Utahns and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke by two to four times. Amputation of the toe, foot, or leg can occur as a result of diabetes; with about 250 hospital discharges for lower-extremity amputations among Utahns with diabetes occurring each year.

Diabetes also places an enormous burden on Utah’s health care system. Approximately $1 billion is spent annually in Utah for treatment of diabetes and related costs.

A march to kick-off the campaign will be held on World Diabetes Day, Saturday, November 14th. The march will begin at 10:00 a.m. on the corner of 100 South State Street and end at the Utah State Capitol. Following the march there will be a brief program scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. in the rotunda. All are welcome.

For more information about healthy eating and how to prevent diabetes and obesity, visit

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Media Contact:
Dave Mecham 
EPICC Program
(801) 538-6654