Who would have imagined that the first interactive national conversation on childhood obesity would begin in Memphis?

But that is what is happening on September 17, 2005 as 1,200 people – parents, youths, doctors, politicians, corporate executive, school teachers, and many more will gather in a town hall meeting at the FedEx Forum.

Memphis is the ideal site for this meeting for two reasons. First, we need such a dialogue and second, we have the organizational infrastructure to make a change.

The need to address obesity is urgent. One of every four children in Memphis is overweight, and only 15 percent of high school students eat the recommended five or more serving of fruits and vegetables. In addition, 40 percent of students do not reach the recommended level of physical activity.

Unlike most other cities, Memphis has the infrastructure to begin this dialogue. Namely, the Healthy Memphis Common Table (www.healthymemphis.org), a coalition of over 100 community partners has 15 workgroups working on 20 projects focusing on curbing the epidemic of obesity in Memphis.

The meeting is being organized and funded by Shaping America’s Youth (SAY), an initiative of national organizations such as office of Surgeon General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Other supporters include corporations like FedEx Corporation, Nike Inc., Campbell Soup Company, and others.

At the meeting groups of 10 will be seated at a table with one laptop computer per table and one voting keypad per participant to record ideas and opinions on developing national and local recommendations on combating obesity in Memphis and in our nation.
These recommendations will be shared with the entire group and will become a working plan for the Healthy Memphis Common Table, the local host for the meeting.

So, if you have an idea you wish to share with local and national leaders then register online to participate in the meeting at www.healthymemphis.org . We will see you there!