September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and the Cobb2020 Partnership is working to help Cobb County citizens and families prevent childhood obesity by incorporating regular physical activity and healthy eating into their daily routine through several healthy lifestyle initiatives.

According to Childhood Obesity Awareness Month (COAM), more than 23 million children and teenagers (31.8 percent) ages two to 19 are obese or overweight, a statistic that health and medical experts consider an epidemic. Based on recent local health assessments conducted by Cobb2020, 24 percent of the youth in Cobb County are considered obese.

Sedentary and inactive lifestyles are escalating these rates and it is fast becoming a critical issue, but there are opportunities to make positive changes toward healthier living everyday. As part of a Community Health Improvement plan, Cobb2020 is taking steps to join the fight against childhood obesity and is leading and supporting several health initiatives in Cobb County.

Under a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program, the Cobb County School District and Marietta City Schools will train elementary and middle school physical education teachers in a research-based program called Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids (SPARK).

The SPARK program, which strives to improve the health of children and adolescents by disseminating evidence-based physical education, after school, early childhood and coordinated school health programs to teachers and recreation leaders serving pre-K to 12th grade students, highlights a curriculum that includes over 500 different activities presented in more than 20 themed, instructional units.

Training for certified physical educators in Cobb County and Marietta City Schools will be held the week of November 18, 2013 at the CCSD Skyview Professional Learning Center in Marietta, GA.

Additionally, Cobb2020 has launched a Photovoice Contest, a grassroots project using photography to gather Cobb County’s youth’s and community at large perspectives on obesity in Cobb, and will launch the walking initiative, Walk Cobb, in October to bring attention to the obesity epidemic and recognize Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

Cobb2020’s Photovoice contest started on September 9 and will continue through October 7 and is open to all people who live, work or attend school in Cobb County. Participants in the contest take on the role of a photographer and capture images that represent their thoughts on the issue of obesity and the barriers and supports found in the community that could create positive change. For more information on the Cobb2020 Photovoice contest, visit

Walk Cobb, supported by Cobb2020 and the Cobb County Extension Service, is a collaborative walking initiative among schools, businesses, organizations, universities and municipalities that focuses on helping Cobb County’s youth and adults embrace healthier lifestyles and incorporate regular physical activity into their daily lives.

The initiative will kick-off starting on October 1, 2013 in coordination with the statewide Walk Georgia campaign. Participants will track and record their walking and/or other physical activities minutes that will be converted into steps through the Walk Georgia website during the initiative timeframe from October 1, 2013 through November 23, 2013. For more information on Walk Cobb or to sign up and participate, visit