Everybody, it seems, wants to help the youth. 10 middle schools in Greensboro, North Carolina will receive $1,500 each to buy pulse meters and other equipment to boost fitness among their students (North Carolina as a whole has seen its obesity rise 15% since 1995, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s annual health report). The Philadelphia Inquirer reported 5 pregnant ninth grade girls participating in ELECT—Education Leading to Employment and Career Training–a program that allows pregnant students to remain in school and graduate as they prepare for motherhood. In New York, former first lady Michele Paige Paterson’s ‘Healthy Steps to Albany’ Challenge rewarded middle school children for exercising and eating more produce with a pair of sneakers and a trip to a farm to learn about agriculture. Nationally, first lady Michelle Obama launched the ‘Let’s Move’ initiative in February 2010 with the goal of eliminating childhood obesity, receiving a pledge from 16 of the country’s largest food corporations to cut 1 trillion calories from their products by 2012.
These are just a few of the measures addressing a generally-acknowledged health crisis affecting young people. Yet, Dr. Janice Johnson Dias, president of GrassROOTS Community Foundation, questions whether these isolated tactics will lead to the thorough, long-lasting results desired. “We think that if we work at one level and ignore the others, we can really ameliorate or fix the problem. That’s silly…We want to be concerned that hypertension and diabetes are going up, but that’s just one component…What is the relationship between obesity and educational outcomes?”
Title: Roots Up: GrassROOTS Community Foundation Helps Girls Inside and Out
Published: March 1, 2012
Author: CANDACE L.