2016 Archives

SMU to host May 3 conference to improve children’s health

‘Tipping The Scales For Children’ to combat childhood obesity in Dallas County

At a Glance

Tipping the Scales conference

What: Dallas business, health and government leaders will unite to combat Dallas’ endemic childhood obesity rates at “Tipping the Scales for Children: From Ethics, to Action, to Wellbeing.”

RSVP: The event is open to the public. Tickets can be purchased here. SMU, DISD, and DCCCD students can RSVP for free here.

When: Tuesday, May 3

9 a.m. Exhibitors and Community Organizations Networking | Cross Hall

10 a.m. Program begins Welcome – Rita Kirk & Doug Hawthorne | Auditorium

10:15 a.m. “Creating Healthy Communities” – Dan Buettner | Auditorium

11 a.m. “Ethics and the Epidemic” – Nancy Cain Marcus | Auditorium

11:10 a.m. “Obesity as a National Security Issue” – General William Fraser, USAF (Ret) | Auditorium

Noon Lunch “City Initiatives & Grassroots Partnerships” – Bobby Lyle, Mike Rawlings, Michael Minor | Hall of State

1 p.m. Program resumes | Auditorium

1:05 p.m. “The President and First Lady’s Health Initiatives” – Alan Lowe and Shellie Pfohl | Auditorium

1:25 p.m. “Reaching the Tipping Point in Improving the Well-Being of Children and Families” – Peter Roberts, Chris Durovich,. Eduardo Sanchez, Cheryl McCarver, Gordon Echtenkamp, Margaret Lopez and Anne Thomas | Auditorium

2:10 p.m. “Chicken and Egg: Effects of Home, Environment, and Poverty on Educational Outcomes and Child Success” – David Chard, Michelle Kinder, Regina Montoya, Michael Sorrell | Auditorium

3:05 p.m. Capstone Presentation – Kenneth H. Cooper | Auditorium

3:25 p.m. Calls to Action and Program Conclusion – Rita Kirk | Auditorium

3:35 p.m. Post-Conference Reception | Cross Hall

Where: The George W. Bush Institute, 2943 SMU Boulevard, SMU

Partners: The Cooper Institute, the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and the Dallas-Forth Worth Hospital Council

Sponsors: The Dallas Morning News, KERA, the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility, Lyda Hill, Texas Health Resources and the Cooper Institute

Exhibitors: American Heart Association Voices for Healthy Kids, Junior League of Dallas Kids in the Kitchen, SMU, Children’s Health and Wellness Alliance, KERA, Stand2Learn, Brighter Bites and Moss Haven Farm. Communications and Engineering students will set up an aquaponics aquarium like the ones they’ve built at St. Philip’s School and Community Center


April 22, 2016

DALLAS (SMU) – The Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility at SMU and The Cooper Institute will bring together 400 leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors to tackle the pressing ethical issue of children’s health in Dallas County at a May 3 conference.

“Tipping the Scales for Children: From Ethics to Action to Wellbeing” will address the health disparities of children living in Dallas County, ranging from the 48 percent childhood obesity rate to cultural and policy influences affecting childhood health and wellbeing. Designed to set specific, achievable goals to improve the health of Dallas County children, the conference will run from 10 a.m. to 3:35 p.m. at the George W. Bush Presidential Institute, located on SMU’s campus.

Featured speakers will include Dan Buettner, author of the New York Times Best-seller “Blue Zones;” General William Fraser III, USAF (Ret), an advocate for healthy children to preserve military readiness; Michael Minor, an undershepherd of Oak Hill Baptist Church who is known as the “Mississippi pastor who banned fried chicken in his church;” and Shellie Pfohl, executive director of The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

Find the full list of speakers and their schedule here.

“We have a moral responsibility to ensure the health and fitness of the children of our city,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, co-founder of the Dallas Mayor’s Youth Fitness Initiative (MyFi) and a planned speaker at the event. “Poor health can contribute to so many other problems, including struggles in school and health complications later in life. That’s why I’m so thrilled to be a part of this gathering of leaders who are ready to engage on this important issue."

“Yes, we are meeting to build community awareness,” said Maguire Center Director Rita Kirk. “But, we hope to inspire a movement to make Dallas the healthiest city in Texas.”

True systemic change rarely happens in silos, said Candy Crespo, Maguire Center associate director “The purpose of the day is to leverage the skill set, expertise and determination of our community leaders – from all sectors – to make sustainable changes for the city, “

The numbers are in for how Dallas is currently faring in the fight against obesity, and they depict a losing battle.

Forty-eight percent of Dallas County children are overweight or obese. Only one in three children are physically activite each day. Dallas ranks among the worst-offenders in the nation in income inequality by neighborhood and in food insecurity, with 19.2 percent of residents considered food insecure.

The data also suggests a relationship between children’s health and national security.

"As a retired general, I am alarmed that 73 percent of young Texans cannot serve in the military, and obesity is the leading medical reason,” says Fraser, who is on the executive advisory council for Mission: Readiness, a non-profit organization that promotes children’s’ health as important to the goal of supporting qualified men and women for military service. “We must 'tip the scales' toward healthier eating and exercise from an early age to ensure our future national security."

Tipping the Scales for Children is presented in partnership with The Cooper Institute, the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and the Dallas-Forth Worth Hospital Council. It is sponsored by The Dallas Morning News, KERA, the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility, Lyda Hill, Texas Health Resources, Children’s Health System and The Cooper Institute.