Promoting healthy lifestyles especially relevant to Oklahoma

Published: July 2, 2012
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“Grill fruits and veggies” (Life, June 12) suggested that families grill fruits and vegetables as part of their Father's Day meal. This was said to be a healthy way to honor National Fruits and Vegetables Month and Father's Day together. As the Fourth of July rolls around, families have yet another opportunity to feast outside with friends and family. And making sure that healthy options are on the menu is just as important this month as it is any month.

Promoting healthy lifestyles is especially relevant to Oklahoma. In the United States, approximately one-third of adults are obese. But in Oklahoma the adult obesity rate is nearly 67 percent. Among children, a survey comparing 10- to 17-year-olds across the nation found that Oklahoma's 2007 childhood obesity rate was 31.6 percent — almost two percentage points higher than the national average.

One effort to combat childhood obesity in Oklahoma County, though, is supported by some of our youngest Oklahomans. At a Del City elementary school, students have built and continue to maintain a raised bed of greens. Along with lessons throughout the school year to teach the kids about nutrition and gardening, the small plot of greens offers opportunities for exercise.

If we are to change the health of our families, then a comprehensive and sustained commitment to eating healthy and engaging in physical activity, such as that promoted by the Del City elementary school's efforts, is both possible and important.

Danielle Nierenberg and Molly Redfield

Nierenberg is project director of the Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet project (www.NourishingthePlanet.org). Redfield is a research intern with Nourishing the Planet.


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