by Max Brantley
Hey, just tipped to a nice Arkansas angle in a NY Times story today about a $500 million Robert Wood Johnson grant to fight childhood obesity. An Arkansas mother and daughter mentioned below are also photographed:
In Arkansas, which has one of the most comprehensive programs aimed at the problem, obesity among the 450,000 children in 1,300 public schools has plateaued.
Rhonda Sanders of Bryant, Ark., said learning that her daughter, Samantha, had a body mass index in the 95th percentile “was a wake-up call, really.”
Samantha, a 5-foot-tall, 137-pound third grader at the time, started jumping rope and bouncing on the trampoline, and the family banned eating in front of the television.
“We didn’t do anything life-changing, we didn’t take away every bit of candy and chips, we just put some limits on it,” Ms. Sanders said. Three years later, Samantha’s B.M.I. score is in the 50th percentile. She favors fruits and vegetables and is on the school dance team.
“I know it’s not as simple for every child,” Ms. Sanders said, “but because children’s bodies are changing so rapidly, a few changes in the way they eat and their activity level can really make a huge difference.”
Sanders works with Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families and so has pitched into on its child health advocacy at the legislature -- more physical exercise in school, BMI testing, keeping candy out, etc.I think I'll go home and walk a couple of miles. How about you?