overton elementary health fair-pics

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Glenn Hudson
For the Salisbury Post
Rowan County’s children are like most typical American youngsters ó they are overweight, they have poor diets and they don’t get enough exercise.
That is why Dr. Jennifer Hudson, of Salisbury Pediatric Associates, and Leah Ann Honeycutt, president of the Overton Elementary School PTA, organized Tuesday night’s “Have a Heart Family Field Day.”
The event attracted more than 300 parents and students and was sponsored by Rowan Regional Medical Center and the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. It featured various stations spread throughout the school where parents and children were given the information they need to make the kinds of lifestyle changes necessary for healthy living.
“I see overweight children every day,” Hudson said. “The solution is educating parents and children about healthy food choices. Then the parents need to take that information and use it when they decide what food to bring into the home. It really comes down to families living healthy lifestyles and supporting each other.”
Ted Oglesby knows that he is part of the solution in his own family. Diabetes, which is often a side effect of obesity, runs in his family. That means he needs to make sure he’s taking care of his own health, and he needs to help his children learn healthy habits today that can prevent them from having problems when they get older.
“Diabetes is a very big thing in the African American community,” said Oglesby, who brought his 13-year-old daughter, Tamara, and her cousin, Tyree, 15, to the event. “I know I need to be watching my weight, getting more exercise and eating better.”
He also knows that he can’t expect his family to eat right and exercise if he isn’t doing it himself.
The message for families is simple:
– Five ó Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
– Four ó Eat four meals together each week as a family.
– Three ó Eat three meals per day (don’t skip meals).
– Two ó Watch two hours or less of television per day (including video games).
– One ó One hour per day of activity.
– Zero ó Zero sugary drinks per day.
“This event was a huge success. The children had a great time, while their parents learned about health and wellness,” Hudson said.
“This event really tells the story about the great Salisbury community that we live in,” Honeycutt added.
“We are challenging every school in Rowan County to host a similar event,” Hudson said. “Childhood obesity is a problem that is only going to get worse if we don’t take action. It really comes down to parents making responsible choices. We’ve given them the information. Now they need to take it and start habits in the home that children will keep the rest of their lives.”