Nutrition education program tackles childhood obesity
By Pam Bryant
Children in South Carolina and across the nation face complex risk factors that lead to obesity. These include poverty, poor eating habits, poor understanding of nutrition, lack of physical activity, and lack of healthy role modeling.
To address these trends, Clemson’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) is partnering with the S.C. Department of Education and the Department of Health and Environmental Control to administer a Team Nutrition project called Healthy Habits for a Lifetime.
EFNEP will provide nutrition education programs throughout the state, targeting approximately 12,000 children in childcare centers, 800 childcare operators/staff, and 1,000 community and family members. The goal is to create a cadre of individuals ¬– parents, school foodservice personnel, school administrators and teachers – who embrace a culture of wellness for themselves, the children they serve and the communities they impact.
“Healthy child development depends on eating nutritious food and being physically active every day,” said Katherine Cason, EFNEP state director and project leader. “This is especially important during the preschool years when children are rapidly building their brains and bodies. The Healthy Habits for a Lifetime program can greatly influence what children eat and do, and can play a key role in preventing childhood obesity.”