Luna County kids can hurdle obesity
Jan 03, 2013 (The Deming Headlight - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities coordinator Nancy Sherman presented a set of dismal Luna statistics Wednesday while challenging the community to reduce obesity.
Sherman was presenting updates on her local grant-funded program to the Community Coalition. The program is funded by a five-year, $7.5 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to address childhood and youth obesity and related diseases.
A main focus of her campaign is to simply get locals more active. One method is through local school children. Her and Deming Mayor Andres Silva have been visiting local schools to push the 5-2-1-0 program, which emphasis activity, staying hydrated with water and minimizing video games and television. They hope children will take those lessons home and share with their parents.
After the school initiative, the push will include lobbying to make local streets more pedestrian-friendly.
"Our goal really is to get Deming a walkable community," she said. "And Luna County a hikeable, walkable and bicycleable community."
To emphasis the need, she pointed to statistics backing up her argument that obesity and the related chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, are the number one public health problem facing Luna County and the nation at large.
For example, about 12 percent of high school students are considered obese, with the figure jumping to 30 percent for obese and overweight. Half of those students are said to watch television or play video games for more than three hours a day.
The effort is attempting to fight the epidemic on multiple fronts, one of which is a throwback to day's passed.
"I grew up in this town until I was five and gardens were the way of doing business," she said. "There was a lot of emphasis on getting out and eating very, very well and we've lost that."
The five-year grant was awarded in 2011. During the meeting, Sherman handed out a project focus with set goals through Sept. 2013.
Matt Robinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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