(Lydia Hastings is working at FLOC’s Outdoor Education Center as the Marketing AmeriCorps VISTA. She originally joined the OEC staff over the summer as the Kitchen Coordinator.)
According to the Center for Disease Control, West Virginia is ranked the fourth highest state in obesity with 67.5 percent of its adult residents classified as obese or overweight. There are many theories as to the root cause of the obesity problem–stemming from genetics to economic means, to physical and personal habits in the way we live.
Theories and potential causes aside, there is one thing that experts can agree on; the best way to combat this growing epidemic is by making good lifestyle choices.
It has been proven that obesity and the accompanying metabolic complications can be drastically reduced or eliminated through proper nutritional choices and physical exercise. West Virginia residents face a drastic need to reevaluate current lifestyle choices to ensure a healthier future. With the decrease in affordability of healthcare, it is more and more imperative that individuals commit to making healthier living a priority in life.
While there are several factors as to why West Virginia has the fourth highest obesity rate, we cannot overlook the lack of support or education that students receive throughout their life on this topic. Education on healthy living should start at a young age. State officials see the need for reform and have begun implementing new programs to help fill this void on the education side. By encouraging West Virginia’s youth to participate in healthier habits, such as eating well and staying physically active, we can help ensure a lifetime of healthy decision-making. These habits will help prevent the major health concerns associated with obesity that plague the state today.
Education programs will help our children acquire a stronger foundation to help make informed choices on their own and prevent health complications in the future.
The Outdoor Education Center of For Love of Children is doing its part in educating Jefferson County’s youth on healthy lifestyle choices and physical exercise. The Leaders in Action (LIA) students are beginning their spring health unit, where they will be participating in various sessions designed to educate them on the importance of making healthy choices to ensure a stronger future. The students will be involved in interactive sessions, both on physical exercise and on the importance of nutritious choices. They will have the opportunity to speak and engage with inspiring local professionals in the health and wellness field. With help from the LIA staff, the students will be equipped with new skill sets to ensure a stronger chance for success and health in their life.
For more information on the nations obesity standings, visit http://calorielab.com/news/2010/06/28/fattest-states-2010/.