It’s no secret that the childhood obesity rate is on the rise.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says childhood obesity has more than doubled over the past 30 years.
The statistic is even more alarming here in West Virginia, where 35.5 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 17 fit into the medical definition of “obesity,” compared to the national average of 31.6. The state ranks 44 out of 50.
Thankfully, there are programs in place geared toward reversing that trend.
Consider the West Virginia University School of Medicine’s Coronary Artery Risk Detection in Appalachian Communities Program, also known as CARDIAC. For 16 years, that program has been used to measure the body mass index of second- and fifth-grade students annually to track students’ obesity rates and health status, including their blood pressure, blood lipid profile and evidence of preliminary stages of diabetes. It’s the largest comprehensive screening program of its kind for school-aged children in the country, and it’s screened 183,241 children in West Virginia.
Past CARDIAC screenings show that the obesity rate among second-graders participating in the program has increased from 17.6 percent in 2005-06 to 20.9 percent in 2013-14. At the fifth-grade level, the obesity percentage in the first year was 24.8; now, it’s 22.3. So even though it’s dropped slightly, it’s still higher than it is in second grade, which means things are getting worse as students get older.
Here in Marion County, students who have their parents’ permission are tested each year in school. That’s because education officials take seriously the risks the CDC reports obese children are more likely to face, including risk factors for cardiovascular disease, bone and joint problems, and sleep apnea. In addition, once the risks are identified, officials can work harder to prevent them from happening.
That’s done in a variety of ways, explained Marion County Superintendent Gary Price.
“Not only do we comply with the guidelines as far as required phys-ed and required child nutrition, but we also try to take an active role in trying to provide additional opportunities for physical activity and trying to help with providing not only nutritious meals but nutritious snacks when they’re available,” Price said.
The effort will continue in the next school year when the Marion County Board of Education kicks off its Farms to Schools initiative in the spring. That program will allow schools to buy produce, meats and eggs from local farms for lunches. Schools also try to limit students’ carbohydrate intake to avoid going over their recommended daily consumption, and they help curb overeating by discouraging children from having second helpings of food if they’ve already had plenty to eat.
The schools themselves have also been offering more family programs, like Blackshere Elementary’s Family Fitness Night. The programs are educational and help encourage parents to be physically active as a family and provide healthy lunch and snack options for their children outside of school.
“The main things those do is try to raise the level of awareness that adults need to set the example,” Price said. “Students do need to be physically active, but they often reflect the same exercise and food selection choices that their parents do. If the parents bring home chips and pop instead of juice and vegetables, then that’s what the kids will have to eat.”
We know the childhood obesity rate won’t decrease overnight. But a joint effort between parents and schools should help get the ball rolling in the right direction.
It’s no secret that the childhood obesity rate is on the rise.
If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is
Scam. noun. A confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
This is a word that Marion Countians have heard a lot about in the past few years. And the problem appears to be one that is getting worse every day.
State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core
It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.
Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.
United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project
The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.
COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard
I love to talk to readers.
I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.
Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial
NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
- Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer
Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
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- If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is