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Weight Control

ACFN Recognizes Local Obesity-Fighting Initiatives

This summer, children at HUD housing complexes across Baltimore will have the opportunity to learn jump- rope routines from trained volunteer coaches as part of a program called "JumpSmart" (Jump Rope, Eat Smart).

It was one of four Baltimore-area programs recognized during a panel discussion by the American Council for Fitness and Nutrition (ACFN) for blazing a trail in community-based efforts to keep people active and eating right. The panel was the fourth in an ACFN series called TRIUMPH -- Trends, Resources and Inspiration for Understanding and Maintaining Physical Health.

"ACFN (American Council for Fitness and Nutrition) is shining a light on the creative work taking place in cities across the nation to stem the tide on obesity," said ACFN Advisory Board Member Lisa Katic, R.D., who moderated the panel co-hosted by ACFN and the National Association for Health and Fitness. "JumpSmart and all the Baltimore-area programs we highlighted today are indicative of the comprehensive, behavior-focused efforts taking place in communities across the country to help people improve their health by staying active and eating smart."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, six percent of total medical expenses in Maryland go to obesity-related causes, totaling more than $1.5 billion.

The other three programs recognized were:

  • The Eating Together Program, a federally funded initiative that offers nutritious meals as well as instruction on meal preparation at local senior centers and residences.
  • C.H.A.M.P. (Church/Community Health Awareness & Monitoring Program), a community-based health education program focused on cardiovascular disease prevention, such as a training program for church cooks on preparing heart-healthy meals for church events.
  • Be Healthy, Be You, a program of the University of Maryland Statewide Health Network and Eating Together Baltimore, which conducts education on diet, health maintenance and physical activity at senior centers, churches and public housing complexes.

The keynote speaker for the TRIUMPH panel discussion was Kate A. Coler, deputy undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Our goal is to help Americans live longer, healthier, better lives. The USDA's new MyPyramid symbol is meant to encourage consumers to make smart food choices in every food group, and to be active every day," she said.

ACFN is a non-profit organization that brings together food and beverage companies, associations and health and nutrition advocates to work toward viable long-term solutions to the nation's obesity epidemic.

For more information on ACFN, visit

The National Association for Health and Fitness (NAHF) is a non-profit organization that exists to improve the quality of life for individuals in the United States through the promotion of physical fitness, sports and healthy lifestyles and by the fostering and supporting of Governors' and State Councils on physical fitness and sports in every state and U.S. territory.

For more information on NAHF, visit

© 2005 Health Resources Publishing