Maine, like the rest of the nation, has an epidemic of obesity. Data from 20022004 show the problem is pervasive from youth to adulthood. Over half of Maine adults (61%) are considered either overweight (38%) or obese (23%). Fifteen percent of Maine high school students are at risk for becoming overweight, a rate similar to national figures, and another 13% are considered overweight. Eighteen percent of Maine middle school students are at risk for becoming overweight and 13% are overweight. Similarly, 21% of Maine kindergarten students are at risk for becoming overweight and 15% are overweight.
In 1999, Maine Health and Human Services Public Health initiated the development of a strategic plan to address emerging nutrition and physical activity issues within the State. Several hundred people were invited to participate, representing a broad range of nutrition and physical activity programs throughout Maine. An advisory group was formed among these stakeholders to guide the planning process. The advisory group conducted a needs assessment to determine the nutrition and physical activity issues to be included in The Maine Physical Activity & Nutrition Plan 2005-2010 (Plan).
This Plan serves as a guiding document for public health leaders, health care providers, educators, policy makers, and citizens to promote healthy eating and regular physical activity and improve health and the quality of life in Maine. Implementation of the Plan will require collaboration among all nutrition and physical activity programs and organizations. Maine engaged stakeholders to create this Plan and must rely on these State and local partners to bring the Plan to life by taking responsibility for implementing the strategies.
The Plans objectives and strategies place emphasis on addressing the problem of obesity among youth and adult populations. The Plan distinguishes between objectives that address youth (all individuals age 18 and under) and those that address adults. Objectives to promote breastfeeding, which reduces the risk of childhood obesity, also have prominence. Because this Plan is for all Maine populations, it also includes objectives and strategies for food safety, food security, and eating disorders.
To see the PDF version of the plan click here.
To learn more about the Maine Physical Activity and Nutrition Program click here.