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Childhood Obesity is Reaching Epidemic Proportions Nationally: Part I

St. Louis OASIS is working with local school children to establish healthy lifestyle habits.

Combating childhood obesity is rapidly becoming one of the nation’s biggest problems.

OASIS, and BJ Hospital are working on healthy eating and wellness programs with youth in the community. Once a week, this group works with the after-school program for children at Old Bonhomme School. Case worker Shelby Schroeder, MSW is the CATCH healthy coordinator for St. Louis. This is what she had to say about this intergenerational program catching on in St. Louis:

Patch.com: We are definitely interested in learning more about the good work you are doing in the community.

Shelby Schroeder: We have five St. Louis OASIS offices, one at the Center of Clayton, one at the Forest Park Visitors Center, a building downtown, I am based at Christian Hospital Northeast and our newest office is in O’Fallon (MO).

For the CATCH Healthy Habits Living Program, we focus on improving nutrition and physical activity for kids in Kindergarten through 5th grade.

Patch: Exactly what is CATCH.

Schroeder: CATCH is an anancronism for a coordinated program to healthy children. This is the part that brings in the adults.

Patch: We are interested in your partnership in particular with Old Bonhomme School in Olivette. How did that come about.

Schroeder: We are partnering with them again.We did that last spring. We had anywhere from 25-30 kids each week and we had a team of three to four volunteers.

Patch: How did Old Bonhomme School find you.

Schroeder: Connie Jander, the P.E. teacher actually called me or sent me an email about a year ago and said she wanted to learn more about what we did.

I met with her and she thought it sounded great and that’s how we started the partnership.

OASIS tutoring has been around for about 25 years. We are the new part of the program. CATCH Healthy habits has been around only since 2011. We are looking to expand but there are a lot of factors.

Patch: What is the main issue you are dealing with.

Schroeder: At this point the CDC says obesity is an epidemic. In the last couple of decades, obesity has tripled for children and doubled for adults.

The current statistics are one in three children are overweight or obese.

Patch: So what can we do about that.

Schroeder: CATCH Healthy Habits talks about nutrition and increasing physical activity.

There is just not one solution to the obesity epidemic. In our program about the importance of physical activity. Too many kids are sedentary and kids are eating more foods that are loaded with sugar and salt.

Patch: If you go to Busch Stadium, all you see are fans eating nachos and bratwursts and just all the wrong things.

Schroeder: Funny you would ask that. At little league concession stands, they won’t allow you to bring in your own healthy snacks and what they offer is high fat, high sugar and high salt.

There’s a false belief that kids are getting physical activity then eating the wrong things and seen as being healthy.

Next Shelby Schroeder answers questions why it is important to work with children kindergarten through the fifth grade.

Mary G. Wilson August 28, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Thanks for the great story ... looking forward to part 2!
Darliene Howell August 29, 2012 at 02:39 AM
I would like to recommend the free NAAFA Child Advocacy ToolkitSM (CATK) and other written guidelines/resources to assist you looking at programs. The total health of our nation's children is a serious responsibility. The NAAFA Child Advocacy Toolkit shows how Health At Every Size® takes the focus off weight and directs it to healthful eating and enjoyable movement. It addresses the bullying, building positive self-image and eliminating stigmatization of large children. Additionally, the CATK lists resources available to parents and educators or caregivers for educational materials, curriculum and programming that is beneficial for all children. It can be found at: http://issuu.com/naafa/docs/naafa_childadvocacy2011combined_v04?viewMode=magazine&mode=embed It is my hope that you will take this opportunity to look at the information held in the CATK and keep what is included in mind when making decisions regarding the children in your charge.
Len Saunders September 05, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Childhood Obesity is a real concern as this could be the first generation of children whose life expectancy may be shorter than their parents. Education is the key, and helping families who need support. Len Saunders, Author Keeping Kids Fit www.lensaunders.com

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