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Teach children good habits to break cycle of obesity

Staff Report • Sep 4, 2012 at 9:13 AM

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Physicians, educators and public officials will use this time to call attention to a problem that some health care providers say has become an epidemic. More than 23 million children and teenagers in the United States are obese, or severely overweight.

Obesity and diabetes often go hand in hand. And it is a problem that manifests itself most profoundly in this state’s youngest citizens. Tennessee is among the top five states in the prevalence of Type II diabetes in children.

Tennessee, as a whole, has made some progress in reversing this frightening trend in childhood obesity.

One way this state has done that is by improving the quality of food and drinks in school cafeterias. Johnson City and Washington County schools are ahead of the curve when it comes to pursuing healthier menus in its cafeterias.

And local school officials have implemented programs aimed at promoting better nutrition and physical fitness for their students. Sodas and junk food have been removed from vending machines on campuses and replaced with healthier snacks.

These are important steps for helping American children grow up to be healthy adults.

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