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INFORMATIONAL LETTER NO: 21

 

POLICY CODE: IJG

 

TO:              Superintendents, Dale Douglas (MSMA), and Dick Durost (Maine Principals           

                     Association)

 

FROM:       J. Duke Albanese, Commissioner, Maine Department of Education

                     Kevin W. Concannon, Commissioner, Maine Department of Human Services        

 

DATE:         November 7, 2002

 

SUBJECT:  Healthy Weight Awareness Campaign

 

- PLEASE SEND ON TO PRINCIPALS, HEALTH EDUCATION AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION TEACHERS AND SCHOOL NURSES -

 

On October 22, 2002 the Maine Department of Human Services, Bureau of Health and the Maine Department of Education, as part of the Healthy Maine Partnership Initiative, launched a statewide educational campaign designed to provide all Maine people with the information needed to make informed decisions about maintaining a healthy weight. As you may know, the rate of overweight and obese teens has been steadily climbing. In Maine today, 10% of high school students are overweight and 15% are at risk for becoming overweight. While there are many factors which contribute to this, data shows that increased calorie consumption and lack of exercise are two major health risk issues we need to address as a state and nation.

 

This campaign began with ads in newspapers, on television and on the radio.  The first ads are designed to provide all Maine people with information needed to make an informed decision about soda consumption. Additional ads will follow in the weeks ahead, educating the public on how to take better care of their health and the health of their children.

 

      The awareness campaign reinforces information our students receive in health education and physical education classes as part of the Maine Learning Results. The research connecting exercise and proper nutrition to student learning is abundant and clear. School systems in Maine and across the nation are implementing policy and program changes regarding physical activity and nutrition to improve learning environments for students. We hope these messages help educators stay informed about nutrition, physical activity and obesity and their impact on the health and education of our students and the nation.