Local Schools Fighting Obesity

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- A new study shows progress in the fight against childhood obesity.

The study said obesity in children between the ages of 2 and 5 dropped more than 40 percent.

Leaders with the Central Shenandoah Health District of the Health Department said this decrease has been seen locally.

In their Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program, The BMI for children ages 2 to 4 decreased 57 percent from 2012-2013, in the counties of Rockingham, Augusta, Rockbridge, Bath and Highland as well as the cities of Harrisonburg, Waynesboro and Staunton.

Andrea Early, the nutrition program director for Harrisonburg City Schools, said there has been significant changes over the last 10 years in what foods they serve.

There has been a bigger emphasis placed on serving orange and dark green vegetables, low fat milk and more local products.

Also, all snack vending machines were removed from city school and all preschools are now being served fresh fruit, two to three days a week.

Kelli Sprague has two kids, one in a local preschool, and said it is good there is now an increased awareness.

"Working with children like I do, I see a lot of folks come through that are very unhealthy. So, it is nice to see that folks are recognizing that and are making better choices for their kids. It's so important to have them grow up having those healthy choices in their life," said Sprague.

Early said over the past decade there has also been more parent involvement and continued nutrition education.

She said this is a goal they hope to continue in the future to reduce the obesity rates even more.

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