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California Heartland

 


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  Season 8 - Episode 807
 

Obese Kids

Obese Kids

Obese Kids

Obese Kids

Obese Kids

Obese Kids

  Obese Kids

Before coming to this weight management clinic, 11-year-old Candido Garcia was extremely overweight. Bad eating habits and lack of exercise were the main culprits. "I would be eating pizza and snack food like donuts and sweet stuff," Garcia said.

"He would go back for a second helping of food. We would go out about two or three times a week. He wasn't very active at all, always wanted to watch TV, play video games," said Darlene Garcia's mother.

Dr. Stephen Daniels, a pediatric cardiologist said, "The obese child is at risk for a number of health-related problems. That includes some factors for cardiovascular disease, such as cholesterol abnormalities and high blood pressure. It also includes increased risk for Type Two Diabetes."

Studies show childhood obesity is a national epidemic and California is no exception. And the problem puts kids at risk for many diseases. Preventing these problems through good nutrition and exercise is key. And that's why experts say one place where the battle of the bulge is being fought in the school lunch line.
"It's far too common today that schools have contracts with fast food restaurants or that they, themselves, make or make available to students large portions of high-fat, high-sugar foods," said Harold Goldstein, executive director of the California Center for Public health Advocacy. The non-profit center conducted a study that shows 30 percent of children in this state are overweight.

All isn't gloom and doom. More and more school districts throughout the state are offering kids a buffet of fruits and vegetables as an alternative to the typical cafeteria fare. Not only that, they're getting some of that produce from local farmers. It's all part of a unique program called "Crunch Lunch." You won't find pizza and pre-packaged sandwiches on this Davis School District salad bar. "I'm finding that increasing the fruit and vegetable consumption of the children actually will lower the total fat content to lower that the accepted 25 percent," said Rafaelita Curva, director of Student Nutritional Services for Davis Unified School District.

While a number of school cafeterias are adopting healthy habits, Davis in one of a few to form a partnership with farmers to fight fat. Kerrie Stevens is with CAFF, the Community Alliance With Family Farmers. It's a non-profit organization designed to connect growers with the community. "What better way than getting into the school districts and that way you get to work with the kids and encourage them to understand the cycles of life and where their food comes from."

Stephens helps locate local farmers who want to participate in "Crunch Lunch." She finds many through the Davis Farmers market, like kiwi grower Frank Stenzel. "It's a great program. It's great for the students, great for me as a farmer because I can sell directly to the consumers. Everyone wins," Stenzel said.

The big winners are the kids. Davis hopes to expand the program to include more schools. For more information call the Community Alliance With Family Farmers at 530-756-8518, ext. 14 or the Davis Unified School District at 530-757-5300.

 

 

 

 

 

 
   

 

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