Politics & Government

Inslee launches council to curb childhood obesity

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee this week formed a 50-person council to look at ways to reduce obesity in children.

The Governor’s Council for the Healthiest Next Generation, which met for the first time Thursday, will deliver recommendations to the Legislature about ways to reduce childhood obesity.

Some ideas being discussed by the council include installing waterbottle filling stations at schools to encourage children to drink water instead of soda; improving sidewalks to make it safer for students to walk to school; and providing discounts on fruit and vegetables for food stamp recipients.

The Legislature included $350,000 in the state budget earlier this year for Inslee’s anti-obesity push. Much of the money is paying for two full-time state employees: one to update policies for physical fitness in schools, and another to update quality ratings for early learning providers, “especially around nutrition and fitness,” said Inslee spokeswoman Jaime Smith.

On top of those efforts, the new Healthiest Next Generation council is scheduled to deliver its recommendations to the Legislature in November.

The group includes state lawmakers, state agency officials, school leaders, children’s health advocates and some representatives from the business community.