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September 22, 2023

Private, Public Leaders Address Childhood Obesity Epidemic at Nashville Event

Private, Public Leaders Address Childhood Obesity Epidemic at Nashville Event
by Nashville Health Care Council | Jun 15, 2012

NASHVILLE – A panel of local and national leaders and health experts participated in a roundtable discussion today at Nashville’s downtown public library, exploring the health care impacts of the childhood obesity epidemic on families and businesses here in Tennessee and across the country. Hosted by the Nashville Health Care Council, the panel is one of a series of roundtable discussion being held nationwide by the Partnership for a Healthier America(PHA) and Family Circle magazine to address solutions to key factors tied to the childhood obesity epidemic.

Tennessee children are the sixth most obese in the nation, according to the Trust for America’s Health.  Panel members today discussed the factors contributing to the childhood obesity epidemic and its impact on health care, including the cost of health insurance premiums, economic implications, and innovative strategies and solutions that are helping curb obesity rates.

Participants included Senator William H. Frist, M.D., honorary vice chair, Partnership for a Healthier America; Ben Leedle, president & CEO of Healthways; Lynya Floyd, health director,Family Circle magazine; Bill Paul, M.D., M.P.H., director of health, Nashville/Davidson County; Shari Barkin, M.D., M.S.H.S., director, Division of General Pediatrics and Pediatric Obesity Research Diabetes Research and Training Center, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. WSMV-TV Anchor Demetria Kalodimos moderated the panel.

“Childhood obesity has reached crisis-level over the past 30 years,” said Frist. “It is imperative that we work across all sectors to find real solutions to end this epidemic in our communities. Nashville is home to some of the nation’s most innovative health care companies and leaders, and today’s conversation offered an interesting look at health sector solutions that can help bring this crisis to an end.”

“In the last decade, Americans consumed nearly one-third of all their calories away from their homes. We  need to ensure that our children establish healthy eating habits early on in life,” said Floyd. “At Family Circle, we are focused on educating moms with the information they need to raise healthy children and provide nutritious meals for their families.”

Over the past three years, the public and private sectors of Nashville have united to begin making real change and turn the tide in favor of healthier lifestyle behaviors. Among the community health programs launched in Nashville are Mayor Karl Dean’s challenges to citizens to join him in walking 100 miles; running/walking a 5K; workplaces to better their health, green and volunteerism efforts; and a city-wide field day with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans.

Attendees of the PHA-Family Circle panel also viewed an excerpt from the obesity episode of Emmy award-winning Nashville Public Television’s documentary series Children’s Health Crisis, sponsored in part by the Council. The hallmark of the series is the wide engagement of Middle Tennessee to foster systemic community-wide change.

“Nashville is known as a global health care industry capital, but unfortunately the city and the state of Tennessee are also recognized for poor health outcomes and an unhealthy quality of life,” said Caroline Young, president of the Nashville Health Care Council. “Today’s roundtable offered an invaluable chance to hear from the experts about how we can continue to work together to improve the health of our children.”

Led by Honorary Chair First Lady Michelle Obama, the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) is devoted to working with the private sector to ensure the health of our nation’s youth by solving the childhood obesity crisis. In 2010, PHA was created in conjunction with – but independent – from Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move! effort. PHA is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that is led by some of the nation’s most respected health and childhood obesity experts. PHA brings together public, private and nonprofit leaders to broker meaningful commitments and develop strategies to end childhood obesity. Most important, PHA ensures that commitments made are commitments kept by working with unbiased, third parties to monitor and publicly report on the progress our partners are making. For more information about PHA, please visit and follow PHA on Twitter @PHAnews.

Published 12 times a year by Meredith Corporation, with a circulation rate base of 4 million and an audience of over 19 million readers, Family Circle is one of the most widely read monthly magazines in the world. Family Circle provides smart relevant advice, sensible solutions, and inspiration in a voice that encourages and celebrates success in its pages and online at Family Circle has always been committed to women’s issues and in 1973 became the first women’s magazine to fully underwrite a professional women’s sporting event, the Family Circle Cup, an annual women’s tennis tournament held in April in Charleston, S.C., at Family Circle Magazine Stadium. For more information about Family Circle, please visit and follow Family Circle on Twitter @FamilyCircle.

The Nashville Health Care Council, founded in 1995 as an initiative of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, is an association of health care industry leaders working together to further establish Nashville’s position as the nation’s health care industry capital. Worldwide, Nashville’s health care industry generates more than $70 billion in revenue and over 400,000 jobs, and is Nashville’s largest and fastest growing employer. For more information on the Council, please visit and follow the Council on Twitter @NashHCC.


Photo credit: (c) 2012, Harry Butler, Nashville.

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