Task Force on Childhood Obesity

By: NANCY BAKER FAUL
Mississippi’s children are not alone in their path toward destruction due to overeating and eating unhealthy foods. This is a serious problem facing children all over America. No, it’s not a hurricane or a war that is fought with guns and weapons. It is a fight for good health and longevity that every person, whose life touches that of a child, can help win. The foe is obesity and the battle wounds are inflicted with sugar and junk food.
As an overweight parent of an overweight child, I know that it isn’t easy to say ‘no’ to all the little treats that children love. I am hoping that, with the help of the Task Force, and its many resources, I will be able to nip this unhealthy eating in the bud. One of the Coast’s most health conscience chefs is taking the lead in this fight by showcasing foods that are health and kid friendly. Rob Stinson, of Lookout Steakhouse, Salute Italian, and Back Bay Restaurants, will be hosting a new television show on Mississippi Public Broadcasting called, Healthy Cooking. “I was asked to be on the board of the Task Force on Childhood Obesity so I could give my views on what restaurants are doing to try to focus on healthy cooking. I want to show that there are ways of eating that children can embrace as a lifestyle that will help them to reverse obesity or keep it from happening to them. Children truly are a precious gift that we, as adults, must teach healthy habits to early and show them that it’s a part of their lives that they can control. Not only are parents responsible, but the educators, after school caregivers, church friends, neighbors, physicians and others are all a part of the mix. It’s the people that are around the children daily that have the most influence. It’s that group that the Task Force wants to reach and teach,” Stinson said.
The first episodes of “Healthy Cooking” are in production now and will air in January or February of 2012 on MBS. Checkout the buzz it is creating at MPB online.
One way that the Task Force is bringing awareness, advice and the tools to succeed to the Mississippi Gulf Coast is through the Southern Regional Institute on Conquering Childhood Obesity. This day and a half event will be held at the IP Casino and will be packed full of various seminars all aimed at helping keep our children fit and healthy.
Registration can be accomplished online at http://www.southernregionalinstitute.com or may be done at 7:30 a.m. on November 3rd at the IP. Beginning ceremonies will start at 8:30 a.m. on the 3rd and the event will run through the 4th. Deborah Colby, Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Health Educators, is very excited about the range of speakers coming to the event from all over the nation. It is amazing how many people stepped up to be a part of this event. There will be seminars on the state of school nutrition, schools as hubs of obesity prevention, shaping up your community: developing fitness focused families and even a diet challenge called ‘How to address the childhood obesity epidemic without fueling a rise in eating disorders. “Years ago, mothers were at home to feed their children three meals a day and the schools served more nutritious meals. Today, it’s not practical for meals to be like they were in the olden days. People who care for children need answers and tips on how to make healthy cooking and a healthy lifestyle part of their daily lives. More schools are hiring registered Dieticians and there is even a newly passed bill that allows farmers to contribute from their crops directly to the local schools,” Director Colby said.
Anyone who knows a child that struggles with weight problems, regardless of age or size, is urged to take time to attend the Southern Regional Institute for at least one day. The information you gather at this seminar could save the life of a child you love.
To obtain more information on what the Task Force on Childhood Obesity is doing to combat this epidemic and on the other agencies involved in healthy living on the coast use the information below.
Deborah Colby, M.Ed, RD may be reached at Gulf Coast Health Educators @228-234-2046. The GCHE email is gcchealtheddcc@aol.com. The website is http://www.gche-ms.org.
EXTRA! EXTRA! Rob Stinson taped an episode of Southern Remedy with Dr. Rick deShazo and Kevin Farrell at the farmers market in Long Beach on September 24th! Watch the MPB website and click on Southern Remedy for details on when the episode will air.
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