Surgeon General Calls Obesity Numbers Embarrassing

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR - The nation's acting surgeon general says the country should be embarrassed by the percentage of children who are overweight or obese despite a recent report showing their numbers are leveling off.

Acting Surgeon General Steven Galson said at a ceremony at the base of the Big Dam Bridge in North Little Rock that the numbers are leving off too high.

Galson presented a Healthy Youth for Healthy Future Champion Award to Eagle Mountain Health & International Studies Magnet Elementary School.  At the ceremony, Arkansas was also recognized as one of five states to win the national President's Challenge, a program to encourage Americans to be more active.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last month that the numbers of overweight and obese children held steady after rising without interruption since 1980.  In 2003-04 and 2005-06, roughly 32 percent of children were overweight but not obese, 16 percent were obese and 11 percent were extremely obese.

Galson said during the ceremony that he was pleased to see the epidemic of child obesity slowing, but said more must be done to reverse the trend.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)