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Southern California schools participate in 7th annual 'Kid Healthy' campaign

Parents and kids take healthy steps in tackling childhood obesity

Posted: March 17, 2009 6:10 p.m.
Updated: March 17, 2009 3:21 p.m.
 
SANTA ANA, Calif. - To combat the rising trend of childhood obesity in Southern California schools, more than 100,000 fourth and fifth grade students and parents from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura County schools and after-school programs will participate in the "KID HEALTHY -- Steps to Healthy Living" campaign.

The campaign runs from March 16, 2009 through April 30, 2009 and reinforces the positive message about the importance of healthy eating and physical activity.

According to a 2008 report published by Children Now, childhood obesity has doubled nationally in the last three decades. In California, the same report shows that more than three million California children - or one-in-three (33%) -- are considered overweight or obese, while only about one-in-four youngsters (28%) make the grade in terms of meeting or exceeding state physical fitness standards.

"There has been progress on this important public health issue," confirms Jackie Teichmann, Regional Director for KID HEALTHY -- Steps to Healthy Living. "But the truth is we're far from reversing the trends. As these children age into adulthood, if obesity goes unchecked they will experience chronic illness and death at a much earlier age than their parents. And that's a real tragedy, especially when we have an opportunity to do something about it -- right now."

The Campaign was founded by Los Angeles television station ABC7 and is supported by a coalition of local non-profit volunteers, state and county agencies and corporate sponsors, and is implemented in elementary schools with assistance from the Network for a Healthy California -- Children's Power Play! Campaign.

"Having been involved with public health issues around obesity and type 2 diabetes for more than seven years now, we think this approach makes tremendous sense," says Teresa Samaniego, Director of Public Affairs for ABC7. "We cannot have the kind of impact these issues demand without the broad support of county agencies, schools, teachers, administrators and sponsors. That in itself is part of the success story and all of us at ABC7 hope it will continue as more schools and students get involved and take the steps necessary to begin making important changes in their lives."

"Children who have participated in the KID HEALTHY campaign as fourth graders and then as fifth graders, literally make great strides and have shown year-over-year improvements in physical activity. And that's something we can all feel good about," adds John Stratman, Director of Public Affairs for Kaiser Permanente, Orange County.

Schools and teachers, as well as after-school based programs, interested in joining the KID HEALTHY -- Steps to Healthy Living Campaign can find out more at: Network for a Healthy California -- Children's Power Play! Campaign www.networkforahealthycalifornia.net/powerplay or by calling Jackie Teichmann, KID HEALTHY Regional Director, at (714) 914-1203.

To enroll your school or CYO and learn how to get your free materials and pedometers go to www.mykidhealthy.org up to April 1, 2009.

About KID HEALTHY -- Steps to Healthy Living
KID HEALTHY -- Steps to Healthy Living is a non-profit 501(c)(3) public health and education campaign under the fiscal sponsorship of the Volunteer Center Orange County of Santa Ana, California. KID HEALTHY was founded by ABC7 and its funding sponsors include Kaiser Permanente Southern California, participating in Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego and Ventura counties; CalOptima, a public health agency serving 330,000 Orange County residents in Medi-Cal, the Healthy Families Program and Medicare; Albertsons/Savon, Macys*, UPS and many other sponsors. Program support and content review is provided by the Network for a Healthy California -- Children's Power Play! Campaign.

The Network for a Healthy California (Network) works with more than 300 different public, non-profit and business partners throughout the state to empower low-income Californians to consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables and enjoy physical activity every day. Principal funding is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Stamp Program.

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