Poll: Majority of Wisconsinites support programs that fight childhood smoking, obesityA statewide poll on healthy living designed to guide policy experts indicates there's concern about childhood obesity and youth tobacco use.
By: Shamane Mills, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
A statewide poll on healthy living designed to guide policy experts indicates there's concern about childhood obesity and youth tobacco use.
The public opinion poll showed three quarters of the 600 people surveyed support spending state money on smoking prevention programs. Nearly as many said they'd be willing to pay more for locally grown fruits and vegetables in schools.
About 94 percent agreed that physical activity in schools would improve academic performance.
Dr. Sarah Van Orman is part of a statewide group seeking to improve health under an initiative called Transform Wisconsin. She says the group, which commissioned the poll, will use the information to help determine how they will spend federal money.
“I think what it says is the sorts of things we're pursuing and working on are things that people in Wisconsin want and support and that these are issues they prioritize,” says Van Orman.
Pediatrician Beth Neary says communities and schools need to come up with innovative ways to increase kid's activity level. For instance, Madison has a van with recreational equipment that goes to neighborhoods without playgrounds.
“It's actually going into something we call recreational deserts,” says Neary. “Activity coordinators will take out hula hoops – all these things – and it’s amazing to see these children.”
Neary says one in three children nationwide is obese. The solution, she cautions, won't be found in “a pill, a prescription or a procedure.”
Generally, the proposed policies to fight obesity had more support than some of those suggested in regards to smoking. For instance, 35 percent of respondents opposed tobacco-free parks, beaches and fairgrounds.