Saint Francis Hospital Helping Beat Childhood Obesity
By Dan Bewley, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- One in every four children in the United States is considered obese. First Lady Michelle Obama says it's her goal to stop that growing problem.
A Tulsa hospital is doing its part.
Ten-year-old Zac Blake is being put through the paces. He recently finished a six-week program at Saint Francis' Health Zone called ShapeDown.
"They do exercise, nutrition, behavior modification," said Jennifer Daly, Health Promotion Coordinator.
Zac was always a big child, his mom says, but she began to worry when his weight hit 152 pounds, 30 more pounds than a 10-year-old should weigh.
"I just felt a little guilty. I felt sorry for him because I wanted to feel good, I wanted him to be happy and I want him to go to school and not worry about being picked on or being singled out," said Michelle Burris, Zac's mother.
To give you an idea of the scope of the problem, the obesity rate in Oklahoma has risen 148% since 1990, now 15% of Oklahoma children are considered obese, with another 15% on the verge of obesity.
Health professionals say it can be controlled as long as children get at least 60 minutes of exercise every day, eat lots of fruits and vegetables and get off the couch.
"Just changing the way we teach our kids about taking away their screen time, playing their video games and getting them outside and being more active," said Daly.
Zac says the training program is a lot of fun and seems to be working.
"My favorite thing was whenever we did yoga," said Zac.
Zac's mom says she has better control of her son's weight and encourages other parents to do the same.
"Helping them on the nutrition side of it by preparing healthy meals and then encouraging them to get out and play more instead of just playing the video games that they love to do," said Burris.