Groups Recommend More Exercise, Less Screen Time

Falls Church, Virginia – (November 14, 2007) – More than one in four children and nearly half of all parents in Northern Virginia are either overweight or obese, according to results from a new survey sponsored by Inova Health System.

The survey, supported by a partnership of health care providers, health departments, school districts, and local governments known as the Healthy Weight Collaborative, also found that less than half of all parents surveyed perceive childhood obesity as a major problem in their community.

“There appears to be a disconnect between the seriousness of childhood obesity and weight issues, and the real health care implications that could follow, such as diabetes and heart disease,” says Peggy Cressy, senior director, Community Health, Inova Health System. “We’re hopeful that by releasing the results of this survey we can influence change and encourage healthier lifestyles for parents, and especially children, in Northern Virginia.”

The survey contained 85 questions related to dietary habits, TV and computer screen times, and exercise and fitness regimens. As part of the findings, more than 80 percent of parents feel that too much television, video games, and junk food are major factors that contribute to obesity.

The survey was a random sample of 2,000 parents of children in the households in:

  • Arlington County
  • City of Alexandria
  • Fairfax County
  • Loudoun County
  • Prince William County

State wide, more than half of Virginians are either overweight or obese, and nearly three out of four Virginians report not getting the daily allotment of recommended physical exercise. Goals the Healthy Weight Collaborative hopes to achieve include:

  • Increased daily physical activity among children, adolescents and families;
  • Reduced amount of recreational screen time for children;
  • Decreased consumption of energy-dense, high sugar/ high fat foods;
  • Increased consumption of nutritious foods; and
  • Creation of social, monetary and policy driven incentives that reinforce long-term environmental and behavioral changes.


Inova Health System is a not-for-profit health care system based in Northern Virginia that consists of hospitals and other health services including emergency and urgent care centers, home care, nursing homes, mental health and blood donor services, and wellness classes. Governed by a voluntary board of community members, Inova’s mission is to improve the health of the diverse community we serve through excellence in patient care, education and research.

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