Baton Rouge – On Tuesday, May 6, legislators at the State Capitol will get a lesson on what they can do to help reverse the obesity epidemic in Louisiana.  It’s part of Legislative Wellness Day, an effort by public, private and non-profit organizations to raise awareness about a growing problem, literally, in Louisiana.

 Legislative Wellness Day will be organized around a baseball theme where members of the Legislature will be invited to “Step Up to the Plate” and aim for a home run in reducing health care costs and improving quality of life for themselves and their constituents.

 Activities will run from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. in the Capitol Rotunda.

 Obesity rates are continuing to climb and the resulting medical complications are having a significant impact on both the quality of life for Louisiana citizens.  According to the 2007 Trust for America’s Health report, Louisiana has the fourth highest rate of adult obesity and the ninth highest rate of overweight youths (ages 10-17). 

 “Prevention is needed in order to decrease the need for more expensive medical care as well as the prevalence of children being diagnosed with adult diseases like high cholesterol, blood pressure and type 2 diabetes,” said Pam Romero, coordinator of the Louisiana Council on Obesity Prevention and Management.  “Taking this message straight to the legislators brings it straight to the decision makers and the people who can make changes in this state.  This is a very important event in that aspect.”

 Legislative Wellness Day is sponsored by the American Heart Association; the Louisiana Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; the Louisiana Council on Obesity Prevention & Management; the Louisiana Dietetic Association; and the Louisiana Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.