Kick the Can: Raising Awareness About Childhood Obesity Locally

Kick the Can: Raising Awareness About Childhood Obesity Locally

975a17_5d6201867092d67fce01fe86365d45c0.jpg_srz_505_345_75_22_0.50_1.20_0New campaign launched to advocate awareness and tax on sugary drinks

Kick the Can Telluride is a local initiative, which aims to raise awareness about childhood obesity and to create a funding stream, via the Sugary Drink Tax, for programs that promote active healthy youth. The tax on sugar-sweetened beverages has been proposed to combat obesity, specifically in children. The local initiative has been thoroughly researched with experts nation-wide. Major political and medical experts in this arena are enthusiastic about Telluride’s efforts. What’s more, Telluride stands the very best chance of passing this progressive piece of legislation where other large cities have failed after being outspent by millions. Here’s more background.

 After decades of rising rates, obesity among low-income preschoolers declined slightly in 19 states and U.S. territories from 2008 through 2011, according to the latest Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Colorado did not make the good list. 

The childhood obesity rate in Colorado is 23 percent, the second fastest growing rate in the nation. On June 25, the Telluride Town Council voted unanimously to put a penny-per-ounce sugar sweetened beverage tax on the November 2013 ballot. This week an Issue Committee launched efforts to raise awareness for the Sugary Drink Tax that voters will weigh in on in the November election.

For the past two years the federally funded Physical Education Program (PEP) has been collecting data on the health status of our youth in Telluride and found that roughly 20 percent of Telluride kids are overweight or obese, according to PEP Director, Emo Overall. The tax on sugary drinks initiative was proposed by a citizen’s group, Partnership for Lifelong Active Youth (PLAY), co-founded by Overall and PEP Youth Wellness Counselor Bridget Taddonio.

Last week, PLAY registered with the Town Clerk as an Issue Committee and on Sunday launched their “Kick the Can Telluride” marketing campaign to raise awareness about childhood obesity and for the Sugary Drink Tax.

Revenue from the tax would go towards after school programs, physical activity opportunities for youth and gardening projects.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, previous research shows about one in eight preschoolers is obese in the United States. Children are five times more likely to be overweight or obese as an adult if they are overweight or obese between the ages of three and five years.

“Obesity is a complex issue and it will take a massive effort on the state level to turn these childhood obesity numbers around, but supporting Kick the Can Telluride’s efforts is absolutely a step in the right direction,” said Taddonio.

For the Vital Signs report, CDC researchers analyzed weight and height for nearly 12 million children aged two to four years who participate in federally funded maternal- and child-nutrition programs. Forty states and the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories (U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico) were included in the report. The data come from the Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System.

Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Colorado were the only three states that showed an increase in obesity for this age group.

“PEP data shows that less than half our kids are eating enough fruits and vegetables, and only 60 percent of our kids are getting the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Even in beautiful Telluride, our kids’ health is in jeopardy.”

For more information about the Sugary Drink Tax and the campaign to raise local awareness about childhood obesity visit

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