Drop in childhood obesity rate energizes efforts - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Drop in childhood obesity rate energizes efforts

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In the quest to get kids on a healthy track, that's just where a group of them went Friday morning, to quest fitness in Jackson.

"We want to show children what it is to have fun and exercise at the same time while improving obesity here in Mississippi," said Jamela Alexander with the Childhood Obesity Project.

Alexander says making exercise fun is paying off. She says the state has seen a 13 percent drop in childhood obesity. To keep up that drop health advocates across the state are trying to change young habits and mindsets.

"A lot of them already have the stereotype that they can't do it but when they see that they can achieve their goal, you see their faces light up," said Herb Hammond, General Manager of Quest Fitness.

Hammond says convincing kids takes one step at a time, but it's adding up to a healthier generation.

"Once they see the benefits of working out the more energy they have and the better their bodies look and the healthier they are, we think it'll hold to them a little better that way," said Hammond.

Exercise isn't the only change in habit needed. Alexander says what kids eat and what they don't is just as important.

"It does take a diet. We talk to children about health and nutrition, what foods are great for health, what food are not so great and we kind of teach not just don't eat candy or don't eat snacks but eat those things in moderation," said Alexander.

The hope Alexander says, is for those healthy changes to follow kids home and engage parents as well. With the state still struggling with high obesity rates overall, Alexander says the fight is far from over.

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