Throughout the nation, the health of America's children is at serious risk because of poor nutrition and lack of physical activity. During the past four decades, obesity rates have soared among all age groups, more than quadrupling among children ages 6 to 11. In South Dakota 33.8 percent of students ages 5 to 19 are overweight or at risk for being overweight, according to the latest Department of Health survey.
"This grant is really recognition of the obesity prevention work already underway in South Dakota," said Governor Mike Rounds. "It will provide another boost to our obesity prevention efforts and we're thrilled to receive it."
The state's obesity prevention push began in 2005 when the Governor hosted the Healthy South Dakota Summit, bringing together leaders from health care, business, school and communities. The result was the first ever statewide nutrition and physical activity plan, with specific strategies for incorporating nutrition and physical activity into key environments where children are found.
Projects already underway as a result of the plan include the Fit From the Start and the South Dakota Great Day of Play. "Fit From the Start" is an education campaign targeted at parents and caregivers of 2- to 5-year-olds to help instill healthy eating and physical activity habits at a young age. The first ever South Dakota Great Day of Play will be held Aug. 15 to urge children, adults and families to get outside and play and be physically active. The effort is a partnership of Health South Dakota and the South Dakota Parks and Recreation Association.
"The Healthy Kids, Healthy America grant will build on these existing efforts and assure that our kids have healthy environments in our schools and our out of school time programs," said Secretary of Health Doneen Hollings-worth.
The Healthy Kids, Healthy America project will be led by a team of public and private sector individuals representing health care, education, health organizations, child service organizations and advocacy groups.
Learn more about Healthy South Dakota's physical activity and nutrition efforts at http://www.healthysd.gov.