Would you give your kids a prescription for weight loss?
COLUMBUS, Ohio --
The Columbus Public Health Department has a program called Healthy Children, Healthy Weights and the goal is to help children make the healthiest food choices that they can and increase their physical activity to help fight childhood obesity.
Autumn Trombetta, Obesity Prevention Coordinator for CPH and a registered dietician, goes into childcare centers around Columbus on a mission to change food options and tastebuds.
"Instead of serving white bread, maybe we can serve 100 percent whole wheat bread. Instead of serving juice for snack, maybe we can serve a whole fruit or a vegetable," said Trombetta.
More than one-third of Americans are considered overweight or obese, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years.
At the Head Start program at St. Agnes Church on the west side of Columbus, Ashley Martin is helping to coordinate the menu for children and is focused on reducing processed foods.
"Hot dogs, chicken fingers, anything with any type of process we are trying to cut down on it. Whole wheat crackers, grains, breads....a lot more of that going into our menus," said Martin as her team prepared a chef salad and orange slices for lunch, and served it family style to the classroom full of 3- to 5-year-old children.
Trombetta works one-on-one with childcare center directors and teachers, helping them make simple, healthy changes to the menus they offer children. She is on the front lines in the war against childhood obesity, because if she can get children enjoying healthy food at an early age, they are likely to continue making healthy choices throughout their lifetime.
"We've seen triple the whole grain servings that are offered to our children, decreases in juice, decreases in fried foods like tator tots and french fries, and also improvements: a variety of fruits and vegetables in their diets," said Trombetta who said that grant money helps pay for the the program that has already reached more than 60 childcare centers around Columbus.