By Special to the Daily World
Members of The Links Incorporated shared tea with Georgia’s first lady, Sandra Deal, at an event highlighting childhood obesity on Thursday, Feb. 16, at the Commerce Club. Titled “The Great Tea Exchange: A Conversation with the First Lady of Georgia…” the event was organized by Link Henrie Treadwell, Ph.D., national chair, Childhood Obesity Initiative for The Links.
Approximately 60 members attended the lunchtime event, representing five chapters from the metro Atlanta area including Atlanta, Azalea, Camelia Rose, Dogwood City, and Magnolia. There were also members from the Fort Valley Chapter in attendance.
Deal spoke highly of the program initiated by The Links which aims to prevent childhood obesity. “They (the children) are the future of our state, our country and our world,” she said.” “I thank you for what you are doing,” she said to the group of women assembled.
The Links has adopted childhood obesity as a national priority for health programming in its chapters. This national initiative began in the Southern Area by Link Mary Currie, Alumna and Platinum Member Affairs Committee chair. Members of The Links have partnered with local organizations, schools, healthcare agencies and the Georgia House Women’s Legislative Caucus to host a series of community forums throughout the state to discuss childhood obesity, physical activity and nutrition standards among Georgia’s children. A childhood obesity curriculum was piloted in spring 2011 with seven Southern Area chapters. The program, which reached 323 children, also established partnerships to sustain the initiatives to fight childhood obesity in these communities.
Obesity rates have reached epic proportions among African- American children, especially girls: 24 percent of African American girls between ages 6-11 are overweight compared with 14% of their White counterparts (2003-2006) (HHS, 2011); 29.2 percent of African-American girls between ages 12-19 are overweight compared with 14.5 percent of their White counterparts (2007-2008) (CDC, 2009); and 19.8 percent of African-American boys between the ages of 12-19 are overweight compared with 16.7 percent of their White counterparts (2007-2008) (CDC, 2009). Overweight and obese children are at a higher risk for a host of serious illnesses, including heart disease, stroke, asthma, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer.
“It is important that we let other key leaders, such as Georgia’s first lady, know of our work. With shared knowledge comes the potential for collaboration so that we will be able to make a significant difference sooner in the lives of all of Georgia’s children and their families,” said Treadwell.
Link Monica Parker, M.D., chair of the