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A new study has found that almost half the children attending New York City's public elementary schools are overweight, and about 25 percent of them are obese.

According to a report in The New York Times, the problem is worse among Hispanic children, who have a 31 percent obesity rate.

The survey suggests that the problem in New York has gotten worse since a similar study was conducted seven years ago, and is worse there than the national average.

NYC Health Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden called the survey results "a calamity," and noted that they would inevitably lead to higher rates of heart disease, diabetes and other weight-related ailments.

It was just a couple of weeks ago that New York's Board of Education said it would reduce the fat content of meals served in schools and ban soft drink sales from schools.
KC's View:
One of the problems in dealing with this issue, whether in Philadelphia or New York, is that we tend to look at it from one direction, when in fact there are plenty of factors that can be blamed for such trends. Sure, the schools serve lousy, fattening food. And there's too much fast food. Too much time spent in front of computers and televisions. Too few parents who spend a enough time paying attention to their kids' activity levels. And so on…

We recently became acquainted with a fascinating NYC organization called Take The Field, which was created in part as a response to a series of articles in The New York Times that reported on the poor state of sports and physical education in New York City's public school system. The series detailed a quarter century of budget slashing, resulting in the acute deterioration of physical education, sports programs, and athletic facilities across the five boroughs.

Most of the existing public school athletic facilities in New York City are in such a state of disrepair that they must be completely rebuilt. Just 12 percent of New York City high school students participate in team sports, a figure that puts NY at the very bottom among the nation's largest cities. And yet, students who regularly take part in physical activity outperform their peers in terms of both ongoing academic performance, and standardized tests.

Essentially, Take the Field is a public-private partnership that is rebuilding the athletic facilities of New York City public schools. In its first 30 months of operation, Take the Field rebuilt 26 athletic fields, and it has a goal of completing 50 totally renovated athletic facilities by 2004.

This is just one example. There probably are hundreds, if not thousands, similar cases around the country. If the nation is going to deal with his issue, then government and industry must work together to come up with comprehensive solutions to complicated problems.

It isn’t as simple as banning soda and filing lawsuits. It never is.