The American Cancer Society's Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers weekend (January 25-27) united the nation's basketball coaches, players, fans, the media and corporations all across America in the fight against cancer.
During the three day event more than 4,000 college and high school coaches turned awareness into action by swapping their dress shoes for sneakers to provide opportunity for the public to join in the fight cancer.
On Monday, January 28, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network's "Suits and Sneakers" made its way to the Indiana Statehouse.
Legislators were asked to wear their suits and sneakers to the Monday session to show their support for fighting cancer and improving the health and well-being of all Hoosiers, "We have many lawmakers who share our vision for a healthier Indiana.
By wearing their suits and sneakers we wanted them to send a strong message to their colleagues and constituents that the time is right to introduce and pass legislation that addresses the important issue of improving health here in Indiana," said Amanda Estridge, Program Manager, Indiana Government Relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
"It was a huge success." Today, one in three cancer deaths are due to factors relating to nutrition and physical activity, including overweight and obesity.
For the majority of Americans who do not use tobacco, the greatest way to reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases is through weight control, dietary choices, and physical activity.
"State and local community leaders and policymakers can play a critical role in improving the health of the people in our state.
One area in particular where they can have dramatic impact is legislating strong guidelines for physical education and high nutritional foods in our schools," said Estridge.
"There is a strong correlation between childhood obesity and future adult obesity, so targeted efforts towards our kids and our schools is an important first-step."
Nationally, childhood obesity rates have more than tripled in the past four decades and the combined percentage of adults who are overweight or obese is 63.5 percent.
Indiana ranks 12th worst among all states with 34.8 percent of its adult population overweight and 30.8 percent obese.
Among Indiana's high school aged teens, 15.4 percent are overweight and 14.7 percent are obese (Source: CDC-Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Systems, Youth Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Systems, 2011).
"How to address our nation's obesity epidemic is a conversation that is taking place in legislatures all across the country," said Estridge.
"The time is right for us in Indiana because we know that we can save many lives in the long run, reduce our health care costs, and make our state a better place to live by passing laws that improve the public's health.
We encourage the legislature to put a focus on this issue and to work with us to craft legislation to improve the quality and quantity of physical education in Indiana schools."
ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem.
ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority.
On Monday, January 28, a majority of Indiana legislators attended their session wearing suits and sneakers in support of helping Hoosiers live healthier lives.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is currently working with the legislature to help draft legislation that would promote higher standards in nutrition and physical education in the state.
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