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New Elementary School Campaign To Fight Obesity
May 23, 2014

Eyewitness News Reporter Darrah Wilcox As childhood obesity rates in West Virginia hover at about 14 percent, more and more groups are taking action to prevent and fight the problem.

A new campaign at three Huntington taking steps to fight childhood obesity. It encourages kids to get active. The group gave out pedometers to get kids outside and moving. Dr. Monika Sawhney, director of the undergraduate program of public health at Marshall University said, "It's really a fun day when they look at how many steps they've taken in an entire day and they look at it kind of a competition."

Fourth grader Christopher Snyder said it makes him feel better to take lots of steps. "When you walk around then you lose weight," he said.

The Marshall University College of Health Professions and the School of Medicine is helping launch a campaign at three Huntington elementary schools -- Highlawn, Guyandotte, and Altizer.

"It's a joint program to launch this program to work with teachers to work with principals and make this whole activity more fun than preaching," said Sawhney.

It's part of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) goal to adopt at least 100 schools across the U.S. within the next year.. trying to proactive rather than reactive to fight childhood obesity.

Sawhney said, "We want to make it where it's fun to be outside its fun to eat healthy so we are working more toward prevention side than cure side."

They're giving students a brief overview of what obesity is and possible ways to prevent it. Snyder said,
"Don't eat junk food."

The kids are catching on quickly and pledging to make healthier food choices. "What kind of food do u like to eat. Vegetables. Yeah? Carrots," said Snyder.

Sawhney said they are applying for grants to add more physical activity for more schools next school year. "I look forward to helping West Virginia not be the obesity capital of the world," she said.

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