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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: February 17, 2012


Fourth Annual Summit to Focus on Impacting Obesity: March 22

The Delaware Coalition for Healthy Eating and Active Living (DE HEAL), in partnership with the Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH), announces the online release of the first DE HEAL Annual Report, "Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Prevention Plan 2010-2014." This report, available at,is a look at the efforts and progress of Delaware HEAL and its partners to reduce the prevalence of obesity and related chronic health conditions.

DPH studies show that in 2010, more than 416,000 Delaware adults-64 percent of the adult population - were overweight or obese, a clear and startling indication that this issue and the related chronic diseases it spawns are a major health challenge for Delawareans, creating significant burdens to the economy, families and business.

"It is very sobering to know that well over half of our adult population in Delaware is overweight or obese. Obesity is a serious health limitation in itself, a condition that can and often does lead to other serious chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. We must address this problem, and in a united and strategic way."said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH Director.

"As the burden of obesity and obesity-related chronic diseases continues to negatively impact the health of Delawareans, collaborative engagement is the key to reaching all Delawareans in the dynamic and diverse communities in our state," said DE HEAL Coalition Chair Brian Rahmer. "The commitment, resourcefulness, and expertise of DE HEAL members, along with the organizations and communities they represent, exemplifies the power of one common voice committed to providing people the tools to improve their health."

The HEAL Coalition has increased awareness statewide as well as developed and launched the website,, to further awareness and partnerships. Other progress includes:

1.A Walkability Assessment Tool to evaluate safe and accessible walking areas in our towns.
2.A Comprehensive Plan Assessment Tool to guide cities and towns in Delaware to write more health-focused comprehensive plans or plan updates:

The annual report continues to engage joint efforts of state and local government agencies, nonprofit organizations, business leaders, health care providers and insurers, and education organizations to support policy, systems, and environmental change strategies associated with individuals who are overweight, obese or who have related chronic diseases.

On March 22, in Dover, DE HEAL will host the fourth annual summit, "Impacting Obesity Through Policy and Environmental Changes," to create context for conversation to raise awareness about the health impact of community design decisions. A statewide call for presentations was issued to garner local input on research, strategies and accomplishments on improving Delaware obesity and related chronic disease rates. Complimentary copies of the DE HEAL annual report will be available at this summit, but advance review of the online report is recommended for optimal presentation. Visit to obtain the call for presentations instructions or to learn how to register for the event.

The DE HEAL is a network of more than 70 organizations and 200 individuals that provide statewide leadership to promote the vision of transforming the culture of Delaware to make healthy eating and active living a priority. DE HEAL serves as a catalyst for policy, environmental, and systems changes that aim to prevent obesity through healthy eating and increasing physical activity throughout Delaware. For more information about the DE HEAL Coalition and/or summit registration, contact Helen Arthur at 302-744-1011.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.