Western Baptist's fight against childhood obesity
Western Baptist is dedicated to educating the community about the growing problem of childhood obesity. The hospital has initiated and supported several programs in the community aimed at educating, informing and alleviating this national epidemic.
One in three U.S. children is overweight or obese, which can lead to serious health problems now and later. National surveys show that 20 percent of preschoolers and 30 percent of school-age children are overweight, with 15 percent of school-age children considered obese. In the last 20 years, the number of overweight children has doubled, while the number of obese adolescents has tripled.
Childhood obesity is on the rise, and Kentucky leads the nation in smoking. We need to intervene early to educate children, parents, teachers and anyone involved in their care to make their adult lives healthy and happy. We know preventing or treating childhood obesity may reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
- Western Baptist funds the two-year fitness program, Project Fit America (http://www.projectfitamerica.org/), at five regional elementary schools: Paducah's McNabb Elementary (http://paducah.kyschools.us/mcnabb/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=38&Itemid=117), Graves Central (http://www.graves.k12.ky.us/schools/central/archives/Project%20fit%20America.htm) and Lone Oak Elementary, Concord Elementary and Clark Elementary. While new playground equipment with fitness stations offered new activity options, the accompanying curriculum and teacher training for all grade levels integrated a fit lifestyle in their daily lessons. Concord students break Project Fit records
- Cardiac rehab nurse Kay Marshall, R.N., spent 18 months developing a program for overweight youths in our area. Marshall teamed with Hendron-Lone Oak Elementary (HLOE) and the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) to bring The CARDIAC Project to Paducah. The CARDIAC Project is a chronic disease risk surveillance and intervention initiative designed to combat the unacceptably higher prevalence of heart disease and diabetes. Volunteers from Western Baptist and AHEC gave health screenings to HLOE fourth graders, including cholesterol and blood sugar, body mass index (BMI), height and weight, and the Harvard fitness test.
- Western Baptist sponsors events hosted by Paducah native and professional football player George Wilson. The George Wilson Safety Foundation hosts regular events for children, including his annual football camp and the Paducah Fun Day/Fuel Up to Play 60, which was designed to educate and motivate students to incorporate at least 60 minutes of physical activity into their everyday routines and healthy food. "It is my mission to educate and inspire parents, teachers and students of the importance of incorporating physical activity and healthy food choices into their every day lives," Wilson said. "One in three children in America are overweight or obese. As a community we have the power to put an end to childhood obesity."