More than a quarter of Kentuckians are considered obese, and lack of good nutrition is a major cause. This program looks at initiatives that provide better eating choices and educate Kentuckians on proper nutrition:
In Owensboro, once dubbed the Fast Food Capital of the World for its residents dining habits, the public schools are fighting the epidemic of obesity among children and adolescents through the Healthy Lifestyles/Fit for Life project. Gym classes have been overhauled and exercise facilities added to encourage more physical activity, and fried foods have given way to healthier choices in school cafeterias. Even the youngest students are now logging miles on the walking track and asking for salads.
Another school-based project, the Larue County Coordinated School Health Initiative, attacks the problem of obesity through both education and nutrition. The project provides and promotes healthy snack alternatives and creates age-appropriate classroom presentations about good nutrition, eating disorders, and other health topics. Meanwhile, initiatives for teachers and school staff members and events like health fairs and bike festivals encourage the communitys adults to set a good example.
In schools, child-care centers, churches, libraries, and even homes across the state, the LEAP for Health curriculum (Literacy, Eating and Activity for Preschoolers) is using the power of storybooks to teach children about the importance of eating more fruits and vegetables. Developed by the University of Kentucky College of Agricultures Cooperative Extension Service, the 10-week program includes stories that encourage kids to try new foods as well as follow-up activities that impart lessons not only in nutrition but also in science, social studies, and math.
At Logan Aluminum in Russellville, an innovative workplace wellness project appeals to employees wallets as well as their desire to be healthier. Thanks to subsidies provided by the company, participants in Logan Alive can save money on healthier choices in the company cafeteria and earn cash bonuses for meeting annual health goals. As participation in the program has gone up, the company has seen its health care costs go down.
Finally, back in Fayette County, a volunteer-run support group called the Controlled Healthy Eating Forever Society helps veterans and their families establish and stick to better eating habits.