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Battling Childhood Obesity in the Inland Empire

Battling Childhood Obesity in the Inland Empire

UC Riverside tackles the issue in a Randall Lewis Seminar on Nov. 16.

(November 4, 2010)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Nearly a third of Inland Southern California public school children may be overweight, according to recent studies.

Last year, the Riverside County Joint Health Coalition was formed to work collaboratively to identify and support broader solutions to combat obesity, poor nutrition and physical inactivity and to improve the overall health of Riverside County. The coalition includes members representing multiple sectors from public and private, local and regional organizations throughout the County.

Four Coalition members will discuss the childhood obesity problem and examine some of the broader solutions being established in the Randall Lewis Seminar Series on Nov. 16 at 5:30 p.m. in the UC Riverside Extension Building, 1200 University Ave., Conference Room B. The event is sponsored by the UCR Center for Sustainable Suburban Development.

The seminar is free, but registration is required at

Panel presenters will be:

• Danyte S. Mockus, an epidemiologist with the Riverside County Department of Public Health, who will discuss the current obesity trends in Riverside County compared to the state and nation. She also will discuss the medical consequences of obesity and prevention of obesity.

• Kevin Meconis, also an epidemiologist with the Riverside County Department of Public Health, who will present results from a recently published brief examining the correlation of obesity rates in children with median household income.

• Rodney K. Taylor, director of nutrition services for the Riverside Unified School District, who will describe “Farmers Market Salad Bar,” a recognized national model for school districts. He will discuss best practices in implementing farm-to-school programs in elementary schools.

• Lorena Novak Bull, a registered dietician in public health and a graduate of the Nutrition and Dietetics program at Loma Linda University, who will speak on strategies for recipe renovation to increase the nutrition and healthfulness of favorite dishes.

Public health researchers attribute rising childhood obesity levels to the prevalence of fast food and sugar-sweetened beverages, and a lack of proper exercise because of increased computer use and fewer nearby parks and recreational areas.

Inland area public health departments, other city and county agencies and local school districts are developing programs and policies to combat the problem and help improve the fitness of area residents.

For more information contact Rick Burnham, assistant director of the Center for Sustainable Development, at (951) 827-4103 or

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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