UAMS Holds Second Conference on Childhood Obesity

By todd

LITTLE ROCK – State leaders hope to provide a forum for schools to share with one another what they are doing to reduce childhood obesity at a University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health conference on Monday for schools across the state.  The conference is co-sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Health and the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI).


The day-long conference at the C.A. Vines Arkansas 4-H Center in Little Rock is designed to help schools combat childhood obesity and build from policy changes required by Act 1220 of 2003. 


The UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health is responsible for tracking Act 1220’s implementation. The college’s annual evaluation, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, includes numerous contacts with school personnel and parents across the state to gather information and opinions associated with the law.


The college learned during these surveys that many local school leaders are making significant changes in nutrition and physical activity policies, said College of Public Health Dean James M. Raczynski, Ph.D. 


“Many Arkansas schools have embraced Act 1220 and its accompanying regulations adopted by the state Board of Education.  This meeting will allow these schools to share their experiences and lessons learned with other schools,” Raczynski said.


The state Legislature adopted Act 1220 in 2003. A statewide advisory group created under the law made numerous nutrition and physical activity recommendations that were forwarded to the state Board of Education. Based largely on those recommendations, the state board adopted regulations on Aug. 8, 2005. 


A panel of state education and legal experts will devote more than an hour to the issue of recommendations-versus-regulations at 9:45 a.m.


Other topics will include:

·        An update of Act 1220, 9 a.m., by Martha Phillips, Ph.D., director of the Center for Public Health Practice at the DHHS Division of Health. Phillips is also assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology in the UAMS College of Public Health.

·        How to integrate exercise into the school curriculum, 2:45 p.m., by Blair Dean, Ph.D., associate professor of physical education at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro and chairwoman of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness. She teaches physical education for teachers, motor skill development for children and secondary methods of physical education.

·        Community Health Specialists, 2 p.m. to make schools aware of these health coaches around the state who are available to help schools develop strategies for combating obesity.


UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has about 2,320 students and 690 medical residents. It is one of the state’s largest public employers with more than 9,400 employees, including nearly 1,000 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $4.5 billion a year. For more information, visit