The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

January 2, 2013

New programs aim to address childhood obesity

Children are getting active and eating healthy in an effort to tip the scales on childhood obesity.

Whiteside County’s health department is implementing new programs to address the growing problem in the area and the nation.

Students at Saint Mary’s School in Sterling, Ill., and Saint Andrew Catholic School in Rock Falls, Ill., will undergo a special pilot program for childhood obesity. Second and third graders will learn the key to maintaining a healthy weight through lessons in both nutrition and physical activity through the program facilitated by Whiteside County Health Department.

The department has been awarded a grant by the American Cancer Society to implement a Childhood Obesity Pilot Project in the community. This pilot project addresses the public health problem of excess weight and obesity in youth ages 2 to 18. As a pilot project, the health department will develop a curriculum, including materials and program goals that can all be easily replicated in other communities.

“Whiteside has a high rate of obesity at that age and at this point the parents are still making decisions for the kids,” Whiteside County Public Health Director Marcia Widolff said. “This is the perfect age to reach out.”

Through the one year grant, youngsters will learn six different curriculums during the six-week program including lessons on portions, replacing screen time and physical activities such as jumping rope and skipping. With each lesson, students will bring home lessons to work on with their parents in effort to educate not only the children, but the adults affected by obesity as well.

“This is a problem for both the children and adults and we hope that learning extends to families,” Widolff said.

According to a recent community assessment performed in Whiteside County, 27 percent of adults consider themselves to be obese, while 36.6 percent of area residents consider themselves overweight, numbers both higher than that of Illinois. The recent County Health Rankings placed Whiteside County much higher than both Illinois and the national benchmarks in obesity and physical inactivity. Obesity is one of Whiteside County’s community goals and this project will provide obesity prevention education to youth in the community.

Evaluation is key with the pilot program in order to determine what is the most effective way to tackle the problem. Children and parents will fill out evaluations before and after the program as well as a follow up three months later.

“I am anxious to see how the evaluation goes and what we can incorporate into potential future programs,” Widolff said.

Money spent on prevention often reduces the costs of treatment in the future. Helping to establish good nutrition and physical activity habits at an impressionable age will provide life-long behavior changes for students and result in reduced overall health care costs of chronic disease, according to Widolff.

“This is a topic we are very passionate about,” Widolff said. “Money spent on prevention really pays off in the long run. We are hoping to start a trend.”

For more information on this Childhood Obesity Pilot Project, please contact Whiteside County Health Department at (815) 626-2230 or visit www.whitesidehealth.org.

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Take a 'National Night Out'

    For one night every year, communities across the country celebrate National Night Out, a nationwide initiative to fight crime and promote safe communities.

    July 31, 2014

  • David Evers Evers' duck decoy hits auction block

    From just a block out of a basswood tree, David Evers creates award-winning pieces of artwork.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Well affected by mercury spill is working again

    Mercury remains in one of Clinton’s Archer Daniels Midland wells, stemming from a November 2013 spill. But according to an independent study, threat levels are below Iowa Department of Natural Resources standards.
    The affected Well No. 4 returned to operation earlier this month.

    July 31, 2014

  • Blake Holovach Holovach converting back to a starting pitcher

    When Blake Holovach takes the mound tonight along the Mississippi River in Davenport, it’ll be in the first inning, which he wasn’t accustomed to in the past.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Relay for Life: Stepping toward awareness

    Statistics reveal that cancer continues to remain the second most common cause of death in the United States, claiming one out of four deaths every day.

    July 31, 2014

  • Holly Youngquist Friends of the Library book sale is underway

    Friends of the Library Book Sale is open now. The sale is open to all until 8 p.m. today and on Friday, Aug. 1, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Finally, Saturday, Aug. 2, is box day. From 9 a.m. to  3 p.m., books will sell at $3 per box.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Cremation service helped pet owner in her time of need

    I wanted to share some positive news about a business located in Clinton that I’m guessing most residents aren’t aware even exists. It’s Northridge Pet Cremation on Main Avenue and for me they were recently a godsend.

    July 31, 2014

  • Darryl Hogue Fulton superintendent settles in to new position

    One month into the permanent River Bend School District superintendent job, Darryl Hogue has experienced the long hours, stress and the learning curve that comes with any new position.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video