LOS ANGELES, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Joined by President Bill Clinton, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today convened the Governor’s 2010 Summit on Health, Nutrition and Obesity: Actions for Healthy Living at The California Endowment in Los Angeles. Opening the Summit, the Governor and President Clinton participated in a discussion, moderated by The California Endowment President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Robert Ross, in which they discussed ideas and policies to combat obesity and promote a healthier California and nation.

“We have enacted some of the most innovative and successful strategies in the nation to promote health and nutrition since my first Summit in 2005, but there is still work to be done to create a healthier future for our children and all Californians,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “I am thrilled to join President Clinton in convening the 2010 Summit on Health, Nutrition and Obesity to discuss promising practices and build on what has been done to prevent obesity and promote healthy living.”

The Governor’s 2010 Summit on Health, Nutrition and Obesity brought together leaders and experts from both the public and private sectors and a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss the best policies and practices to combat the state’s obesity crisis. The moderated discussion with Governor Schwarzenegger and President Clinton focused on three topic areas that will help create a healthier California: promoting healthy beverages, increasing physical activity and incorporating the idea of “health in all policies.” Following the discussion, the Governor will hold a press conference to announce actions for healthy living.

“I’ve been proud to co-lead the Alliance for a Healthier Generation with Governor Schwarzenegger and American Heart Association President Dr. Clyde Yancy to combat the nationwide epidemic of childhood obesity,” said President Clinton. “Through the Alliance’s efforts, we have increased healthcare benefits for the prevention of obesity for more than 1.5 million young people, more than 2.2 million kids and teens have made a commitment to live healthier lives, and more than 7,800 schools across the country have enlisted to build healthier environments for students and staff, including 398 schools in the state of California. This summit gives us an opportunity to discuss what we’ve done well and what we can do better in California and across the country to ensure this generation of kids isn’t the first to live shorter lives than their parents.”

California’s obesity epidemic poses a significant public health and economic threat to the state. Obesity is a costly epidemic that can lead to increased health care costs and diminished worker productivity. According to the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, the annual economic costs associated with obesity, overweight and physical inactivity in the state doubled in six years, from $22 billion in 2000 to $41 billion in 2006. In California, approximately one in nine children, one in three teens, and three in five adults are overweight or obese. Although recent trends suggest leveling growth rates of obesity in the state, overall obesity rates remain disconcertingly high. In the last decade alone, adult obesity rates have increased by nearly 10 percent and have more than doubled since 1990. Click here to learn more about the obesity epidemic in California.

The 2010 Summit builds upon the principles used in Governor Schwarzenegger’s groundbreaking 2005 Summit on Health, Nutrition and Obesity, which brought together leaders and experts from business, education, government and public health to launch a cross-sector approach to increasing healthy food options and opportunities for physical activity in California. Hosted by Governor Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver, the 2005 Summit released the Governor’s 10-point Vision for a Healthy California to challenge all Californians to make the state a national model for healthy living. Since then, California has championed nation-leading efforts to combat obesity and improve health and wellness including the Governor and President Clinton announcing their partnership in 2007 as co-leaders, along with the president of the American Heart Association, of The Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Additionally, since 2005, the Governor has:
•Established the toughest school nutrition reforms in the nation, eliminated junk food and sodas from public schools and invested millions of dollars in fresh fruits and vegetables in school meals.
•Established California as the first state in the nation to require fast food and large chain restaurants to post nutritional information on menus and eliminate trans fats from restaurant meals.
•Secured millions of dollars in federal stimulus funding for statewide prevention and wellness programs.
•Adopted the first-ever physical education (PE) standards and provided unprecedented funding for school PE teachers, equipment and supplies.
•Established the state as a leader in worksite wellness by developing healthy vending policies for state buildings.
•Reconstituted the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and the Governor’s Fitness Challenge to promote physical activity for all Californians with an emphasis on children and youth, engaging more than 100,000 students in 2009 alone.
•Enacted policies to promote the development of healthy communities, including funding for parks and physical activity spaces in low-income communities, requirements for safe and pedestrian friendly streets and highways, and programs encouraging healthy transportation.
• Established the multi-agency Strategic Growth Council to support the coordinated development of healthy, sustainable communities.
•Created the Governor’s Honor Roll, securing commitments of significance from multi-sector leaders dedicated to improving healthy eating and active living in California.
•Proposed comprehensive health care reform featuring significant investments in prevention and wellness.

First Lady Maria Shriver has also made obesity prevention a priority. Through a host of public-private partnerships, the First Lady has:
•Developed a “10 Steps for Healthy Living” brochure for parents and children which has been distributed in physician offices statewide.
•Built 31 playgrounds in low-income communities so children can have a safe place to play and be active.
•Led a call to healthy eating through her school garden initiative, the California School Garden Network and made California the first state in the nation to plant a sustainable garden on the grounds of a State Capitol.
•Established programs to encourage healthy eating, active living and preventive care including WE Connect and Family Day.