• Addressing childhood obesity in Georgia: Past, present, and future

      Kibbe, Debra L.; Vall, Emily Anne; Green, Christine; Fitzgerald, Brenda F.; Minyard, Karen J.; Cornett, Kelly; Georgia Health Policy Center, Georgia State University, Georgia Department of Public Health (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: The Trust for America's Health ranks Georgia 17th (16.5%) in the nation for childhood obesity prevalence among youth aged 10-17 years. Georgia has a long history of addressing childhood obesity at the state, regional, and local levels. This report outlines the historical efforts in childhood obesity in Georgia from the mid-1990’s to the present, summarizes current childhood obesity prevention and management strategies, and provides childhood obesity-related data relevant to the current strategies. Methods: Childhood obesity-related efforts in Georgia from 1996 to the present are documented, along with how these efforts led to the creation of Georgia Shape. The Georgia Shape Childhood Obesity Prevention Initiative, created by Governor Nathan Deal in 2012, established a statewide, 10-year plan of action to address childhood obesity. It convenes more than 125 governmental, philanthropic, academic and business community partners quarterly to work towards reducing the incidence of childhood obesity and overweight in Georgia. Evidence supporting the Georgia Shape objectives is described, along with current program and policy efforts that may allow achievement of its goal of having 69% of Georgia’s children in a healthy weight range by the year 2023. Results: Georgia's obesity rate for low-income, 2- to 4-year old children has decreased. Over the 2013-2015 school years, there has been no increase in BMI at the population level among school age children and youth, and the percentage of boys and girls with increased aerobic capacity has improved. Future efforts should focus on middle and high school students; engaging and educating parents of young children; and state policies that support safe, daily physical activity and access to healthy, local food. Conclusions: A long history of childhood obesity activities in Georgia has led to a strategic plan of action, with contributions from many stakeholders. These efforts aim to reduce the prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity in Georgia over 10 years
    • Immunization policies for employees of childcare facilities within the North Central Health District of Georgia

      Kamara, Paula; Lian, Brad; Smith, Jimmie; McChargue, Judy; Mercer University, North Central Health District (Georgia Public Health Association, 2015)
      ABSTRACT Background: Since the early 1980s, vaccinations have generally been required for children in licensed daycare and school settings. In these settings, vaccinations have reduced disease rates. Adults occupy these settings as well, and ensuring they are vaccinated should also reduce the potential for disease and disease transmission. Yet, there are few vaccination requirements for adults employed at daycare facilities, although such requirements have been recommended (CDC Adult immunization schedule, 2015; ACIP General Recommendations, 2011). The objective of this study was to examine current vaccination policies among childcare facilities within Georgia’s North Central Health District (District 5-2) and the climate for possible policy directives in the future. Methods: A 10-item questionnaire regarding vaccination requirements and policies and the importance of vaccination education was mailed to administrators of all 271 licensed childcare facilities within the North Central Health District in Georgia. A total of 76 questionnaires were returned, representing a 28% response rate. The district has approximately 530,000 residents and is comprised of 13 counties. Results: Of the childcare facilities, 79% have no vaccination policies in place. However, most facility directors (75%) indicated that such policies should be required, and 93 % stated that vaccination education is important for their staff members. Conclusions: Vaccination requirements can help protect children and their caregivers from communicable diseases. From a policy perspective, the climate may be favorable for the implementation of such requirements, in that most childcare directors recognize the importance of such policies and state that they should be required.