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Kinship Care, Links Inc. to fight obesity

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

Clayton County's assistance program for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, is teaming up with an Atlanta area volunteer service group, to bring home Michelle Obama's national campaign against obesity.

Clayton County's Kinship Care Resource Center recently announced it is partnering with the Atlanta-based Azalea City Chapter of the nationwide Links, Inc. service organization, to provide a nutrition education program aimed at African-American children participating in Kinship Care's Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Program.

The Kinship Care Resource Center is operated the Clayton County Senior Services Department.

"The mission of the department is to enhance the quality of life of the people we serve, adults and children, promoting healthy behaviors," said Clayton County Director of Senior Services Mary Byrd, in a written statement.

Obesity is a major health issue facing people, in general, in Clayton County, according to the Clayton County Board of Health's 2010 State of Health report. In the report, the board of health reported that obesity, along with a lack of exercise, and eating few fruits and vegetables are some of the top risk factors for premature death in the county.

Statewide, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports on its web site that although Georgia trailed 21 other states who had higher obesity rates in 2009, the most recent year for which data is available, its own rate sat at 27.2 percent. The CDC also reported that an obesity survey conducted between 2006, and 2008, showed the obesity rate among African-Americans in Georgia was at 36 percent.

When the focus is put on children between the ages of 12 and 19, the nationwide data for 2008 shows African-American males had an obesity rate of 19.8 percent, while African-American females had an obesity rate of 29.2 percent, according to CDC data. State-level data for childhood obesity, broken down demographics, was not immediately available on Wednesday.

The program that Kinship Care and the Azalea City Chapter of Links, Inc. will oversee, is scheduled to last six-weeks, and will be designed to "parallel" Obama's "Let's Move" anti-obesity initiative, with children learning about nutrient-rich foods, healthy meals, and physical activities, according to a news release from the Clayton County Senior Services Department. Officials did not specify when the program would begin.

The program will be open to children between the ages of 6 and 13.

Officials with the Kinship Care program could not be reached on Wednesday for more detailed comment about the partnership.

Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative, which recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, is a program whose aim is "solving the problem of obesity within a generation," according to the initiative's web site, www.letsmove.gov/.

"Let's Move" was founded on five "pillars," as outlined on its web site, which include: "Creating a healthy start for children; empowering parents and caregivers; providing healthy food in schools; improving access to healthy, affordable foods, and increasing physical activity."

For more information about the youth nutrition program that will be offered through Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, call (770) 477-3417.