Local School Districts Battling Childhood Obesity

By Sharon Stevens Education Reporter

St. Louis (KSDK) – According to some researchers, nearly nine million American children over the age of six are obese.

But more and more schools are making efforts to reduce those numbers.

That’s because children typically spend at least six hours a day in school and many eat both breakfast and lunch there, so educators have a lot of input into what’s being served.

The chickens.

The eggs.

The vegetable and fruit gardens.

They can all be found in the Maplewood-Richmond Heights School district.

It’s a collaborative effort with St. Louis University, called the “Seed-to-Table” program.

The goal is to get kids to eat healthier foods and be hands-on when choosing what to eat.

This is the fourth year for the Seed-to-Table program. In addition to raising the chickens, the children are growing their own vegetables and they’re eating them, too.

But educators say conquering childhood obesity is about more than eating the right foods. It’s also about providing physical education every day for most students.

St. Louis University helps prepare the food that is served in Maplewood-Richmond Heights and other school districts.

Marjorie Sawicki is an assistant professor of nutrition and dietetics at SLU, and said, “I think we are in a crisis when we look at, what are the health costs going to be for this generation? We need to be teaching them to make those healthier choices and to be physically active and then also, learn how to prepare food themselves.”