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Moran Introduces Childhood Obesity Bill

by ARLnow.com September 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm 3,341 52 Comments

Late last week, Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) introduced a bill that would enable ten states to collect body mass index information from youngsters in immunization registries. The bill would serve as a pilot program for tracking the prevalence of childhood obesity.

Rep. Moran’s office issued the following press release about the bill:

In recognition of Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Congressman Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat, today introduced legislation that would establish a pilot program to track the prevalence of childhood obesity. The program would include the accumulation of body mass index (BMI) data in current immunization registries in 10 states.

“Obesity has reached near epidemic levels across the United States. The health of our youngest Americans will impact our economy, health care costs and public health,” said Moran. “In order to track our progress in reducing childhood obesity, we must have accurate and up-to-date information.”

Moran’s legislation would eliminate the need to create an entirely new data system by adding BMI data to current childhood immunization record systems. Body mass index is a non-invasive measurement calculated from height and weight. The legislation requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to deliver a report on the results and effectiveness of the pilot program after enactment.

Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled – nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. Obesity is a leading factor in diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other life-threatening health diseases.

President Obama declared September 2012 National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month to encourage all Americans to learn about and engage in activities that promote healthy eating and greater physical activity by all our nation’s children.

  • Nag

    moran should introduce an anti-moron bill

  • carlynglen

    “In recognition of Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Congressman Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat, today introduced legislation that would establish a pilot program to track the prevalence of childhood obesity” …

    What a great idea!!!! Hire unemployed pilots to count the fat kids.

    • yes again

      They are going to use drones……!

  • zimmy

    And this involves interstate commerce how?

    • Ballston

      Congress has powers beyond interstate commerce

      • carlynglen

        @Ballston .. you are correct… Congress has the power to make our money disappear.

  • Sam

    Unbelievable stupidity.

    Instead of introducing this kind of nonsense, why not spend time figuring out how to fund better food options in the schools?

    Fight the problem with the money, don’t spend it to track it.

    • drax

      Seriously, Sam? Tracking data is useless in dealing with major health problems?

      • Sam

        In this case, it’s obvious what the problem is, so instead of spending millions on a new system to track data (because they will figure out that the immunization data storage system can’t also hold this data or report on it effectively without spending money to upgrade it) – oh, and they will figure out it takes all kinds of staffing to perform the BMI testing because not all school physicals require it, and on and on and on….

        So, yes, in this case, it makes immensely more sense both common and financial to take the money, spend it on foods that provide better nutrition and are more healthy choices; and even on classes to help teach some parents how to make better choices.

        That makes sense. Not this.

        • drax

          No, it’s not obvious.

  • Hollywood

    And if Health and Human Services deems your child’s BMI to be too high, your child will be sent to a special program to be re-educated…

    • drax

      Except not.

      • Steve

        Or CPS will come to have a “chat” with you to educate you to “scientific” methods of being a better parent. OR ELSE.

        • drax

          Getting better!

      • Hollywood

        I’m sorry, can you explain to me what the purpose of the study is ultimately, if not to curb behavior of our children?

        • mmmmaybe

          To understand the determinants of childhood obesity so that the child, parents, and/or other contributors can take targeted, effective action.

          What does “curb behavior” mean? Further eliminate unhealthy foods from school lunch programs? Maybe. Take the delicious frozen pizza out of your kid’s mouth. Likely not, tho not a bad idea. Since the health system (and through insurance rates = us) is affected by the increasing rates of preventable disease, I’d be ok with curbing that behavior.

          • Hollywood

            By your same logic we should prohibit obese adults from eating unhealthy meals. Maybe we should outlaw alcohol and fried food and smoking? You’re ok with the government forcibly controlling your behavior?

  • JamesE

    What if your child is really swoll so he has an obese BMI but looks like Arnold?

    • Mary-Austin

      Arnold looks terrible. If your child looks like him they have bigger things to worry about.

      • JamesE

        He is 65 now, I hope all my future children look like him.

        • SomeGuy

          Hopefully not at birth. I would NOT want to see that delivery.

          • drax

            Hasta la vista, baby!

  • JimPB

    Agreed: obesity is a prevalent problem. How prevalent, the degree of obesity and among whom needs to be known for appropriately targeting interventions and for evaluating them.

    Data, not beliefs, should guide what we do and there should be accountability in data, not beliefs, for impact and cost-efficiency. (Clinical beliefs about what works are usually wrong.)

    Research, including an extensive analysis by a NIH scientist, points to calorie intake as a key variable in obesity. So, another commenter is right in pointing to food and drink (kind and amount) as a target for intervention.

    Physical activity can help combat obesity, too, but generally in an incidental manner; the main benefits of physical activity are in other areas.

    • demonfafa

      My issue is using BMI as a standard. It’s been debunked in so many ways. Hell, I got rejected from purchasing Blue Cross insurance out of pocket because they said my BMI was too high (I’m 5’6″, 185 lbs) yet I’m not even close to obese or “fat” for that matter as I exercise and just ran a 5K – I’m just not skinny.

      • JimPB

        How was your BMI “measured”?

        Your waist measure is?

      • Yup.

        Even scarier to think about how the BMI data might be used by government-run insurance programs.

        • drax

          The paranoia is strong.

          • sarah palin

            BMI based death panels!!!!

          • Yup.

            The government that can force you to buy insurance can certainly come up with some sort of penalty if your kids BMI is “too high”, thereby increasing the cost of te insurance. Not paranoia. It is the logical use of this information.

          • drax

            The government can do plenty of things. Talking about them when nobody has proposed them, though, is paranoid speculation.

          • drax

            Oh, and the government can’t force you to buy insurance, just tax you for not having it. Read the decision.

  • carlynglen


    This just in from ‘DUH !!! – The Scientific Journal of the Overtly Obvious’ : Too much eating + Not enough exercise = Fats Kids!!!

    • Becoming indifferent

      Not just how much, but eating crap makes you fat, too. Again, file under DUH!

    • JamesE

      Beer, Pizza, Burgers and Froyo will make your child fit and healthy.

      • Tre

        So I’m assuming the glaring omission of cupcakes implies that it’s the sole culprit of childhood obesity?

  • Fat Kid

    I’ll give you my cookie when you pry it from my cold, dead, podgy hands!

  • AnotherMark

    The next step will be to develop a metric that combines student’s SOL scores and BMI to calculate teacher pay.

    • AnotherMark

      that should be students’

  • Roquer

    So, are
    The police going to carry weight scales in their cars now to enforce this? Between giving money to illegals and making sure everybody can vote multiple times, this guy is ever proving he is truly moronic!

    • made up facts

      do you still beat your wife?

    • drax

      Yes, this program about collecting data on a health epidemic is going to result in the police going around with scales weighing people, Roquer.

    • sheriff already got ’em

      ACPD already issued those scales to each officer. Any indication on the officer’s car GPS that they’ve lingered near Dunkin’, Froyo, the cupcake place or McD’s for more than 1.3 minutes, and they are required to hop on the scale.

  • Village Genius

    Childhood obesity is bad, so why would Rep. Moron support such a bad thing? Another reason to vote no to him.

  • jorge

    the truth of the matter is how the dept of ag is ok with the manufacturing of crap food that is highly refined and goes straight to the hips, butt, and nips when eaten. if moran had a pair, he’d go after them, but i’m sure he gets a nice fat check from kraft, nestle, and the rest of the ag lobby. why not put cigarette-style warnings on big mac wrappers? warning: eating this will turn you into a grotesque lard that will eventually become obnoxious and ride around super markets in rascal scooters and sue the airlines for an extra seat

  • DynaFlash 8

    Mr Moran,

    Please monitor your own child. Public demonstrations of food gorging is not a joke. These contests just don’t send the right message.


  • PL25rd

    I tend to agree that BMI, especially for children, isn’t the best way to measure obesity. I look at my own daughter (almost 8), who does tae kwon do 2-3 times a week, is on a soccer team, takes dance class in extended day, and generally spends a ton of time running outside with the neighborhood kids. Her BMI is in the 81st percentile (just looked it up) – at the top end of the normal range – because she is all muscle! We just got some new jeans for her for the fall, and though they fit length-wise, we had to cinch in the waist. There are plenty of little kids (especially in this area) who are solid like her, but not overweight. BMI doesn’t tell the whole story!

  • novasteve

    Has Moran commented on the protests, the embassy killing yet??? I would love to know his views.

    • speonjosh

      So you can ridicule them?

    • bobbytiger

      Not me. Moron has nothing to say, that is remotely of interest to me.

  • Darliene Howell

    Stigma and discrimination of children based on their physical appearance or body size is resulting in physiological reactions to this stress. The pressure to reduce their body size in not only extremely difficult, if not impossible, it is BAD FOR THEIR HEALTH.

    As outlined in a 2007 report from Yale’s Rudd Center:
    “Research so far suggests that obesity may increase vulnerability to adverse physiological reactions to psychosocial stressors among youths. Experiences of weight stigma may specifically exacerbate negative health outcomes through heightened blood pressure, cortisol reactivity, and risk for hypertension. Given that similar findings pertaining to obesity and vulnerability to stress are emerging in both children and adults, it may be that obesity beginning in childhood heightens vulnerability to a long-term trajectory of negative physical responses to chronic psychosocial stressors. This could in turn increase various cardiovascular risk factors. These health problems often affect overweight children. Many of the negative psychosocial consequences of weight bias occur above and beyond the influence of high body weight, and this appears to be the case for negative health consequences as well (Matthews et al., 2005). Therefore, the health consequences common among obese children may partly result from the effects of discrimination.” (Puhl & Latner; Stigma, Obesity, and the Health of the Nation’s Children; 2007)

    Studies show that dieting, even that considered “naturalistic”, among young people lead to weight cycling [Naturalistic weight reduction efforts predicted weight gain and onset of obesity in adolescent girls; http://ebn.bmj.com/content/3/3/88.full%5D

    There is an evidence-based compassionate alternative to conventional dieting: Health At Every Size®. Please consider this alternative prior to making a decision that may result in weight cycling.

    I would also like to recommend the free NAAFA Child Advocacy ToolkitSM (CATK) and other written guidelines/resources. The NAAFA Child Advocacy Toolkit shows how Health At Every Size® takes the focus off weight and directs it to healthful eating and enjoyable movement. It addresses the bullying, building positive self-image and eliminating stigmatization of large children. Additionally, the CATK lists resources available to parents and educators or caregivers for educational materials, curriculum and programming that is beneficial for all children. It can be found at:

    For more information on Health At Every Size, you can find a general explanation on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_at_Every_Size) or find in-depth research-based information in the book Health At Every Size – The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Dr. Linda Bacon (http://www.lindabacon.org/HAESbook/).

  • YTK

    I was a skinny melinky when I was a kid– played baseball, handball, basketball, ran with my friends, walked alot, had FUN!!


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