Nutrition and Obesity

Health Kick: Mom on a Mission

Jul 27, 2015

Over the past 30 years, rates of childhood obesity in this country have quadrupled.  Eighteen percent of kids and 21% of teenagers are now considered overweight.  It’s a problem that has one Charlottesville mother on the warpath - preaching and writing the gospel of healthier habits.

Shelley Sackier is the slender mother of two healthy kids, so you might not expect her to worry much about the growing number of American children with a weight problem, but she has known - from an early age - that eating too much of the wrong things could have uncomfortable consequences.

Feed & Read

Jul 9, 2015
Photo: www.nokidhungry.org

For many children, summer is a time to enjoy a break from rigorous class work. But for some kids, summer vacation means that they’re no longer guaranteed a lunch- and in some cases, even breakfast. Virginia’s First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe visited Roanoke’s Main Library Wednesday to celebrate the Feed and Read program, which works in conjunction with the Summer Food Service Program. The S-F-S-P provides free meals to children 18 and under in eligible areas throughout Virginia.

Farmers markets in this country are growing. New ones are springing up all over Virginia.  These community markets are morphing into more than just places to buy fresh local produce.  They’re becoming places to hang out, eat, drink, shop, and more.

Ten  years ago, there were around 80 farmers markets operating in all of Virginia.  Today it’s 3 times that.

“Now we’ve got between 200 and 250. I say between 5: because the numbers keep changing, new markets are coming on.”

You’ve probably seen it in your garden, along roadways, just about everywhere: Garlic Mustard.  It’s an invasive plant that stealthily out-competes native species, threatening the diversity of forests in many parts of the country. But what if there were a recipe to change that?

They don’t call it garlic mustard for nothing. Rachel Collins is Associate Professor of Biology at Roanoke College. 

“The chemical that it’s making that smells like garlic is one of these herbivore defense chemicals like basil and all the other yummy flavors in bail and mint.”

A recent survey showed 28% of Virginians have a hard time getting fresh fruit and vegetables in their communities.  What’s more, half of kids said they would head for a fast food restaurant or convenience store if given $5 for food. 

To counter those problems, a group of teachers is taking Richmond kids to the farm, where they dance, sing and discover the wonders of compost. 

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