Obesity report spurs new push to teach Clinton County kids healthy habits

Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 5:12 PM EDT
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - The school year is underway in New York and this year there is a push in Clinton County to make healthy food choices for children a priority.

“It was very needed,” said Amanda Prenoveau of the Clinton County Health Department.

A new report from the Clinton County Health Department takes a look at the percentage of the population that is overweight and obese in the county, and the numbers are staggering.

Some 36% of elementary students fall into an overweight category, along with 46% of middle schoolers and 70% of adults.

Your health is at risk from being overweight or obese. To help, the health department is teaming up with seven school districts to teach healthy habits starting at a young age in hopes of turning around the numbers leading up to adulthood.

“That’s definitely the goal,” Prenoveau said.

The health department is able to do this through the Creating Healthy Schools and Communities grant from the state.

“The state uses an obesity rate and an economic rate to determine which schools are eligible,” Prenoveau explained.

The grant will pay for a portion of the project to make schools or communities healthier by adding more nutritional options and physical activities.

“We let them know that they have a budget, You have X number of dollars and we will help you identify projects to spend that money on. Anything above and beyond that is their responsibility but we want that. We want a commitment from these places that they are invested in this mission,” said Malana Tamer of the Clinton County Health Department.

The school-based programs run from pre-K through 12th grade.

Northern Adirondack Central School District is one of the districts participating. They created a team of students and staff to come up with ways to make the day healthier.

“That council is necessary for us to move forward,” said Tiana Saroj, a health educator at Northern Adirondack Central School District.

Adding water refill stations, a garden and looking at adding walking trails outside the school for the community and PE classes to use are among a few of the changes.

“A way to see that health and wellness can be a daily practice in your life,” Saroj said.

The schools and health department hope families will also take these lessons out of the classroom and implement them in their homes.