Article from Saturdays BGDailyNews about Obesity – we got a mention!! #gettoned
Local health experts working to tackle childhood obesity problem in Kentucky
ALYSSA HARVEY, The Daily News, firstname.lastname@example.org
When David Nuckols says he wants to see people exercising, he isn’t talking only about adults.
It isn’t unusual to see children go into his studio, Get Toned Fitness, to do high intensity interval training three or four days a week for about 50 minutes at a time.
“I change it to where I can accommodate any type of kids, any age and size. We have eight who come pretty regularly,” he said. “I usually have ages 10 and above. We focus on nutrition and exercise and body awareness. The kids bring their parents off and on. It’s fun when kids can do the same stuff as mom or dad.”
The need for this type of information is especially important for children in the Bluegrass State. According to the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children, a unified policy agenda for child advocates across the state, self-reported surveys show that Kentucky has the third highest rate of childhood obesity in the nation. One of three children is considered overweight or obese in the state.
“We’re automatically set back because we’re poor, uneducated and dying of obesity, heart attacks, strokes and cancer,” Nuckols said. “I want to make sure kids have the opportunity to work out with their friends and family. If you give a child an activity or ball, they will play.”
Nuckols isn’t the only person concerned about the future of Kentucky’s children. The Medical Center’s Health and Wellness Center is working with local physicians on a new program called the Healthy Weight Program for Kids. The program is modeled after a program that has been successful in other parts of Kentucky.
“We can refer anyone who has an issue with their weight and/or cholesterol issues. We’re seeing a lot more high blood pressure, in teens in particular, and Type 2 diabetes. We have children who are being referred for lap-band surgery,” said Graves-Gilbert Clinic pediatrician Dr. Debra Sowell. “Obesity is a nationwide problem. Schools have cut back on play time and P.E. to cram in academic things they need to get in. We’re trying to do something locally so kids will have something easy to access at their own pace.”
The patients can get referred to the Health and Wellness Center for one-on-one nutritional counseling, the Walking Program and The Medical Center Healthy Kids Club. In the Walking Program, children log in their miles and get monthly incentives and, annually, are entered in a drawing for a bike. The Healthy Kids Club promotes physical activity, healthy eating, safety and wellness.
“The children have to be referred by a doctor so that we can bill their insurance,” said Andrea Norris, registered dietitian at The Medical Center.
So far there hasn’t been a big response to the Healthy Weight Program for Kids, Sowell said. More than 40 families have been referred, but that doesn’t mean everyone follows through. Still, she hopes more children will get on board.
“We hope to offer quarterly prizes once we get more kids involved. We want them to get the benefit of being healthy and have a chance at health-conscious prizes,” she said. “We also want to offer quarterly classes for kids, such as a cooking class on how to make healthy snacks and healthy meals.”
Norris hopes that the program’s support group will also begin to gain more momentum.
“We’re trying to start up a support group that would be free for the kids and the families,” she said. “It has started, but it’s slow. We’re meeting quarterly.”
Norris said when she counsels the children, it’s not necessarily about losing weight.
“It’s more about a healthy lifestyle. I teach the kids and the parents about healthy kids and snacks,” she said. “I talk to the kids about going to the grocery store with the family and picking out things that are healthy.”
Many issues with food come because of food choices, Norris said.
“A lot of kids and parents don’t know what’s healthy. What we see on TV is what we think is good,” she said. “Fast food plays a huge part. It’s so easily accessible and inexpensive. A lot of fast-food restaurants are offering healthier food choices for kids, though.”
It’s OK to have treats, but it should be in moderation, Norris said. For instance, it’s better to offer healthy foods before offering anything else when it comes to the holiday season.
“I wouldn’t deprive your child of something, but allowing the child to have access all the time is not healthy,” she said. “That way, the child can have self-control.”
“It boils down to the parents. (Children) are products of what their parents are giving to them, and it’s not fair to the children,” he said. “We are responsible for our children, and our children will be responsible for our future.”
— For more information about the Healthy Weight Program for Kids, call 745-0942. For more information about Get Toned Fitness, call 791-3154.
Daily News (Bowling Green, KY)
Copyright 2010 News Publishing LLC (Bowling Green, KY)
- Help for Childhood Obesity (everydayhealth.com)