Fighting childhood obesity
September 12, 2012
Panhandle Health District (PHD) will launch an
ambitious program designed to reduce childhood
obesity in the five northern counties in
Shoshone County this week.
The Idaho Community Foundation granted PHD up to
$50,000 a year for three years to teach child
care providers how to use the Color Me Healthy
program with preschoolers. Color Me Healthy uses
color, music and exploration of the five senses
to teach young children that healthy foods and
physical activity are fun.
Eleven Shoshone County child care providers will
be the first of up to 155 providers throughout
the five northern counties to train over the
next three years in the evidence-based program
used in more than 50,000 child care sites
The first free training is scheduled for
Wednesday, September 12, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30
p.m. at the Shoshone Medical Center Health and
Education Building in Smelterville.
Participants will receive a Color Me Healthy kit
complete with instructional materials, colorful
posters, activity ideas, recipes and parent
newsletters filled with ideas for nutritious
snacks and fun activities.
Child care providers in Idaho are required to
have at least four hours of continuing education
each year to maintain licensure. Providers who
participate in the free Color Me Healthy
training will earn two credits from the
IdahoSTARS Professional Development System
toward that requirement.
“Providers can put Color Me Healthy into
practice with their preschoolers right after the
training,” said Lisa Gardom, PHD’s Color Me
Healthy program coordinator.
To expand the effort to reduce childhood obesity
into a community project, some Shoshone County
grocers have agreed to highlight fruits and
vegetables that correspond to the Color Me
Healthy color of the week. PHD is working with
supermarkets, hospitals, pediatricians’ offices,
the media and more to spread the word about the
value of nutritious food and physical activity.
A recent Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
study found 29 percent of Idaho’s children are
overweight or obese, based on a comparison of
BMIs (body mass index) on a sex- and
age-specific growth chart.
Idaho’s adult obesity rate is 27 percent. In
1995, Idaho’s adult obesity rate was 14.2
Obese people are more likely to suffer from a
variety of chronic ailments including eight
types of cancer. Healthcare related to obesity
costs Idaho about $324 million each year.
PHD’s plan to reduce childhood obesity focuses
on children during their preschool years when
they’re first learning that the right foods work
with physical activity to help keep them
healthy. Idaho received a failing grade in a
recent assessment of state regulations related
to obesity prevention in child care settings.
Color Me Healthy is an evidence-based program
created through a partnership between the North
Carolina Cooperative Extension and the North
Carolina Division of Public Health-Physical
Activity and Nutrition branch.
The Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health is
donating the Color Me Healthy kits for the
project. Child care sites that participate will
post a window cling bearing the Color Me Healthy
The Idaho Community Foundation is a statewide
public nonprofit organization. In 2011, ICF
provided nearly $560,000 to the northern Idaho
region through grants, scholarships and other
Kootenai County child care providers will
receive the second Color Me Healthy training
this coming winter.
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