Elizabeth Daigneau is GOVERNING's managing editor.E-mail: email@example.com
To reduce childhood obesity and encourage healthy lifestyles, South San Francisco, with funding from Kaiser Permanente, launched an innovative pilot program in 2005 targeted at pre-schoolers.
Statistically 25 percent of the 4,900 children in San Mateo County, Calif., are obese. In South San Francisco, the percentage is even higher: 32 percent. To reduce childhood obesity and encourage healthy lifestyles, the city, with funding from Kaiser Permanente, launched an innovative pilot program in 2005 targeted at pre-schoolers. The program, called FRESH for fitness, recreation, education, socialization and health, teaches 2- to 5-year-olds and their parents about healthy eating and active living through activities that include exercise, nutrition workshops, cooking classes, body fat measurement and a gardening program. The preventive program's goal is to break the cycle of obesity by reaching out to children and their families. FRESH has educated roughly 300 students since its inception, and has just been renewed for another two years. The program has only been available to students in the city's two licensed preschool programs but will expand to include preschool and kindergarten students in the city's before- and after-school programs. To learn more, contact South San Francisco's Recreation & Community Services Division at 650-829-3800.