Program aims to cut childhood obesity with vegetable gardens

Nov 19, 2010

A program aims to use planting as a means to teach healthy eating

Obesity in the country's children is growing at a staggering rate. Later in life, obese children can develop serious life-threatening conditions and end up paying higher life insurance premiums as a result.

From exercise programs to healthier school lunch menus, a number of initiatives have been implemented across the country to help make children make better choices. The American Heart Association and environmental health activist Kelly Meyer are rolling out the "Teaching Garden" program.

The program is aimed at teaching elementary and middle school-aged children life-long health benefits of eating properly, says AHA president Dr. Ralph Sacco.

"Our hope is that by teaching kids where vegetables come from and the benefits of healthy eating we can inspire change and reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity in this country," says Sacco. "Besides changing their own eating habits, children may also motivate other family members to modify their diets and improve cardiovascular health."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says obese children and teens are at an increased risk of having high cholesterol levels and blood pressure, which are precursors to cardiovascular disease.

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