In 2010, KET addressed childhood obesity rates in Kentucky and the impact of children’s sedentary lifestyles in the award-winning special report More Than Child’s Play: Why Physical Activity Matters. KET now presents Well Fed: Nourishing Our Children for a Lifetime, which explores childhood nutrition, its impact on health outcomes and obesity rates, and efforts across the state to make the healthy choice the easy choice. The program airs Monday, Feb. 18 at 9/8 p.m. on KET.
Families have the odds stacked against them, with society set up at every turn to encourage unhealthy choices. For the last several decades, much of what is offered in the average grocery store and fast food restaurant is processed food containing high amounts of fat, sugar and salt. What used to be reserved for a special occasion – a soda, a cheeseburger or an outing to a restaurant – is routine now. As two segments in the program show, some children in Kentucky have never eaten a fresh blueberry, strawberry or banana.
Well Fed: Nourishing Our Children for a Lifetime is structured around the growth of a child, highlighting the importance of good nutrition starting in infancy and continuing through the teenage years.
In the newborn segment, the program examines breast feeding in Kentucky. While breast milk is universally hailed as a superior food to infant formula, breastfeeding rates in the state are among the nation’s lowest. According to Dr. Rebecca Collins, director of the newborn nursery at UK HealthCare, this is largely due to a culture that doesn't support breastfeeding. The program features the hospital's recently implemented "Kangaroo Care" initiative to encourage breastfeeding.
Next, the program focuses on early childhood, where Dr. Brooke Sweeney, director of the Healthy for Life! clinic at the University of Louisville, sees families struggling every day to regain control of their diets. Sweeney is also the mother of two young children and demonstrates how she prepares balanced meals for young taste buds.
When a child enters elementary school, they face another set of challenges, from candy bar and cookie dough fundraisers to school lunches replete with processed foods. Well Fed: Nourishing Our Children for a Lifetime visits several Kentucky schools that are implementing innovative approaches to nutrition, including farm-to-school programs. The profiled schools are Bloom Elementary in Louisville, Graves Elementary in Mayfield and Latonia Elementary in Covington. Schools and community groups across the state are also creating youth leadership programs for high school students. Well Fed: Nourishing Our Children for a Lifetime features the Montgomery County High School Future Farmers of America program, which is raising its own beef to serve in the cafeteria.
The program also examines the impact of food deserts on the nutrition of children and highlights efforts in Eastern Kentucky and Western Louisville to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables and to change the culture of food in the area.
Well Fed: Nourishing Our Children for a Lifetime is a KET production, produced by Laura Krueger, and is funded in part by a grant from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.
More information about KET programming and education services, as well as how to support KET, can be found at ket.org.