Doing Something About Obesity in America
While the country is suffering from record rates of obesity, it is very refreshing to know there are groups out there who are proactive and trying to make a difference in this battle by starting at the beginning, with our youth.
Action for Healthy Kids has taken to the schools to battle the country's obesity problem. Volunteers for the organization have recently given 11 schools in Chicago, Denver and Washington D.C. makeovers.
Hundreds of volunteers composed of parents, educators, community members and corporate employees, lent their time, their muscle and their nutritional expertise to Action for Healthy Kids ' Get in the Action program to take the fight to where it was needed most. The schools benefited from tastings of healthy foods while being educated on the importance of a healthy diet and to aid in expanding the opportunities for the students to have access to a variety of physical activities.
In Chicago the group transformed an unused space in one school into an indoor fitness center and converted an undefined field into a soccer field at another. A third school had volunteers convert a paved playground into an active play space with a football field as well as a track, hopscotch markings and more. At the same time they provided the delicious, healthy food taste tests while stressing the importance of nutrition and healthy eating.
Meanwhile in Denver volunteers held wellness fairs as well as fruit and vegetable taste tests. Four schools had the volunteers help out and even showed the students and staff some fun-filled brain breaks of physical activities. And in Washington D.C. four schools had lessons in community gardening and healthy foods. As well the group upgraded playground equipment and even converted an alley into an outdoor physical education space.
Continued on the next page
Obesity is a crisis all over the country. One parent in Chicago was so inspired by the group, she became a member. Yvette Cook, whose eight-year-old daughter's elementary school was transformed, was so impressed she joined the call. She was quoted as saying, ""They have a nice playground now. There wasn't anything before. But now it's like, lights, camera, action," Cook says of the paved playground turned active play space. "And the kids got to try a lot of different, healthy foods that they'd never had before. … I think it's great. I'm all for this. It's so needed. So many kids never knew what Brussels sprouts were before and didn't really know how to eat healthy."