Keeping KY Kids Off the Obesity Track
FRANKFORT, Ken. - Eating a little less and exercising quite a bit more sit at the center of a new set of guidelines from Washington aimed at keeping Kentucky kids off the path to obesity. The White House Childhood Obesity Task Force says children need every advantage they can get, including quality pre-natal care, good nutrition and more exercise.
Tonya Chang, advocacy director with the American Heart Association in Kentucky, says more children face this problem than one might think.
"We have about 20 percent of young children under age 5 who are overweight or obese, and about one in three children overall is overweight or obese."
The guidelines also address the need to eliminate 'food deserts;' areas where Chang says many healthy food options aren't available now.
"These are areas that could be in metropolitan communities or could be in very rural communities that don't have large grocery stores. Oftentimes, they just have convenience stores that don't sell fresh fruits and vegetables."
The task force also recommends new emphasis on exercising mind and body from places where children spend much of their time, such as schools, she says.
"Over time, schools have gotten away from providing physical education and opportunities for physical activity.In Kentucky, there are no time standards for physical education in our public school system."
The guidelines come as part of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign. They go as far to say federal money should be made available so that kids can bike and walk more safely in their neighborhoods and that children should have safe access to parks, playgrounds and community centers.