Mayor Allen Joines today announced the start of the Mayor’s Educational Childhood Obesity Prevention Program, a multi-organization initiative to fight childhood obesity.
The program uses animation and an interactive website, www.TheIsleofSmile.com, to educate kids 7 to 10 about nutrition and exercise, in a medium that they use daily. The site has games, recipes, a parent page, and a message from the mayor. Through the site, young people can learn, create, plan and get involved with story development.
The program also includes a workout DVD video with personal trainer Travis Fitzgerald to teach children how to do basic exercises, as well as a training video for adults who work with groups of children. The Gateway YWCA, the Winston-Salem chapter of The Links, Incorporated, and the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, as well as other organizations, will host educational workshops and information programs targeted to local students.
Because of sedentary habits, more children than ever are overweight. The New England Journal of Medicine published a report stating that, “for the first time in the history of the United State, this generation of children could live less healthful and shorter lives than their parents.”
Joines said, “We must take action to begin addressing the growing problem of childhood obesity. Over 30 percent of Forsyth County school-aged children are obese. If we don’t combat the tremendous amount of advertising by fast food companies with a positive message about nutrition, this number will grow.”
The program is also a part of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Campaigns for Healthy Cities.
The program was developed by a task group that include nutritionists and representatives from the Mayor’s office, the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, the Gateway YWCA, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Forsyth County and the Winston-Salem Chapter of The Links, Incorporated. Out of Our Minds Animation Studio developed the website. Viewfinders Media produced the DVD.
Major funding for the program was provided by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, with additional support from Cook Medical and the Rotary Foundation. “We are very grateful to these organizations for their financial support,” Joines said. “Without them, we could not have put together this very important effort to help our children.”.