Take the Pledge on National Child Health Day

October 6, 2008

In the midst of this extraordinary election season, we pause to recognize - and to ask you to act - on a special cause. For 80 years, National Child Health Day has been an effective means for calling attention to many of the most pressing child health issues of the day, including prenatal care, adolescent health issues, day-care on child development, childhood injury prevention, and immunization.

Today our society is experiencing a growing health problem that puts our children at risk—childhood obesity. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, approximately 1 in 6 U.S. children between 2 and 19 is overweight, putting them at serious risk for more life-threatening conditions and diseases such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

What can you do?

As America's chief health educator tasked with providing the public with critical information about how to improve health and prevent illness, the U.S. Surgeon General is calling on all of us to help prevent childhood overweight and obesity . As individuals and in our communities – including our parishes – we can take the Surgeon General's Pledge and make a difference in the life of a child:


  • Be a role model by making healthy choices for myself.

  • Help children be physically active through everyday play and participation in sports.

  • Support children's healthy eating habits.

In recognition of National Child Health Day October 6, we want to increase awareness of this critical issue of the physical health of our most precious commodity: our children. Children are central to the mission of the Church and the promise of the future, and their well-being is an essential component of building a community of new and abundant possibilities of life. Since 1928, National Child Health Day has been a time for our nation to unite in ways to secure a healthier future for our children. Accordingly, communities are encouraged to institute programs of healthy eating and physical activity to improve and protect the health of our children. Our church communities are a perfect place to act on "the pledge."

And be assured that in the next Congress, we will continue to urge lawmakers and the new President to implement policies providing quality affordable health care for every child. We will also call on the President and the Congress to recommit themselves and the nation to a comprehensive policy of partnering with families and communities to reverse the trend in childhood overweight and obesity.

We can think of no better gift to our children than by standing together and helping each and every child to Eat Healthy and Be Active for a Healthy Future.

In 1928, at the behest of the American Federation of Labor and the General Federation of Women's Clubs, the President and the Congress immediately issued a National Child Health Day Proclamation, setting aside a day of observance to focus on the health and well-being of children. They invited all Americans and agencies and organizations interested in the welfare of children to unite in the task of instituting programming for the protection and development of the health of the Nation's children.

Surgeon General's Childhood Obesity Prevention Program: For more information on the pledge, printable versions to use in your church, and additional checklists and resources, click here.

Additional Resources: