New Weight of the Nation Public Forums planned on Jan. 9, 16 and 23

Members of the public are invited to attend one or all in a series of three free public forums in which community panel members will discuss programs and opportunities for health and wellness in your area.

The forums are called The Weight of the Nation after the HBO documentary miniseries of the same name, which examines the scope of the obesity epidemic and explores the serious consequences to our nation’s social, economic, and physical health.

All three forums will begin at 7 p.m. on a Wednesday are expected to last about two hours. One session will take place on Jan. 9, in the Boardroom of the Shawnee Mission Park Administration Building, 7904 Renner, Shawnee and Lenexa. Another will take place on Jan. 16, at the Roeland Park Community Center, 4850 Rosewood, Roeland Park. The final session will take place on Jan. 23 at the New Century Fieldhouse, 551 New Century Parkway, near Gardner.

During these forums, segments of the miniseries will be screened. Following the screening, participants can take part in a panel discussion which will include local experts such as health professionals, representatives from local schools, city and county government, and local park and recreation agencies. Participants will also have an opportunity to taste test locally-grown food items and learn how they can make a healthy impact on their family, friends, and in their community.

“This is an outreach to the public to share information and listen to ideas of what we can all do to combat this epidemic,” said JCPRD Corporate and Community Wellness Manager Jill Leiker, who is organizing the upcoming forums. “All of these people will be gathered to discuss the problem, what they see as potential solutions, and in turn, things they may have already started either through programming or special events and how they are addressing the issue within their organization. This is about sharing information about all of the resources that are potentially out there. This is also an opportunity for public to share what they would like to see in their community. It is important to hear what the public would like to see, and small public forums are the perfect place for people to be heard.”

Leiker and JCPRD are working with several groups including Johnson County Public Health, members of the Kansas City Metro Park and Recreation Programmers Group, and Good Natured Family Farms, a regional produce organization.

While this program is free, registration is required and can be accomplished by calling (913) 826-2950.

To find these forums in the Johnson County Park & Recreation District’s Activities catalog and online listings, browse first under adult and then under special events. In the catalog and when using the website’s advanced search, look for the keywords “public forum.”

To register or for more information about these forums, call (913) 826-2950. The JCPRD’s Activities catalog is available for pickup at all Johnson County Library branches. For updated program listings, see the District’s website at www.jcprd.com.

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