Louisiana Fit Kids Blog

Pennington Biomedical and Louisiana Department of Education Host Webinar During National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month


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BATON ROUGE, La. – September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and serves as a time to promote resources and tools that advocate for healthy growth and prevent obesity in children.

The Louisiana Department of Education and Pennington Biomedical Research Center are helping educators and families better understand childhood obesity. Louisiana Fit Kids, a partnership between the Department and Pennington Biomedical, is hosting a free webinar series for teachers, school administrators, guidance counselors, child nutrition program professionals and other interested stakeholders. The second webinar in the Understanding Childhood Obesity Series will take place September 14th from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Online Registration is Now Open.

"Childhood obesity remains one of the greatest challenges to public health we face. Louisiana leads the nation in childhood obesity, and the COVID pandemic has accelerated the increases we have been observing over the last several decades. Concerted action will be required to turn this tide," according to Peter Katzmarzyk, PhD, Professor and Associate Executive Director for Population and Public Health Sciences at Pennington Biomedical.

The webinar features a panel of experts. Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian and Christina Economos, PhD, from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston, and R. Glenn Weaver, PhD, from the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina, will discuss trends in food sources and diet quality in U.S. children, strategies communities can use to address childhood obesity using a systems approach, and the impact of school breaks on children’s health.

"While the nutritional quality of many meals, snacks, and drinks consumed in the U.S. are slowly improving, most remain poor, and with growing disparities," said Mozaffarian. "And strikingly, we have found that school meals now provide the healthiest food, on average, in the United States, due to major improvements after Congress passed the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010."

Dr. Rani Whitfield, a Baton Rouge physician also known as Tha Hip Hop Doc, will moderate the webinar.

"Child nutrition programs in Louisiana play an important role in improving diet, reducing food insecurity and improving overall health," said Pennington Biomedical Executive Director John Kirwan, PhD. "A healthy student is better able to learn and succeed, and all students in Louisiana deserve that chance."

The webinar series is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

About the Pennington Biomedical Research Center
The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. The Center conducts basic, clinical, and population research and architected the "Obecity, USA" awareness and advocacy campaign to help solve the obesity epidemic by 2040. The Center is affiliated with Louisiana State University. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes over 480 employees within a network of 40 clinics and research laboratories, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Its scientists and physician/scientists are supported by research trainees, lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and other support personnel. Pennington Biomedical is located in state-of-the-art research facilities on a 222-acre campus in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. For more information, see Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

For Immediate Release
For more information, contact Cathy Carmichael,

Pennington Biomedical Research Center
6400 Perkins Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70808

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