Despite much progress, Kentucky still ranks seventh in the nation in childhood obesity, but Fayette County parents can help change that this month by rallying for healthy school environments for all Lexington kids.
The Lexington Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition is staging a rally Tuesday, Aug. 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the new Plantory at the corner of Jefferson and Sixth streets in the Bread Box in downtown Lexington.
Refreshments and childcare will be provided at the event, which is designed to educate parents about the Coalition’s plan to ask the Fayette County School Board to strengthen the wellness policy for all its schools.
According to both state and federal regulations, all schools are required to have school wellness policies.
Although some schools embraced the challenge and transformed their food and fitness cultures, others have wellness policies in name only.
“At some schools, the policy is just words on paper. Nobody is watching this,” Coalition Chairperson Anita Courtney said.
“Unfortunately, the kids who are at the highest risk for childhood obesity are getting left behind.
“We want a district-wide policy in which all schools have a healthy environment.”
Toward that end, the Coalition hopes to present its three-point plan to the School Board at its Oct. 27 meeting.
The plan represents three years of work and includes input from teachers and administrators.
The proposed district policy is as follows:
1) Do not use food as a reward for academic performance or good behavior.
No more candy for A’s.
2) At least 50% of food served at school celebrations must be healthy.
No more pizza and ice cream parties without other options.
3) Require daily recess in elementary schools.
Recess can’t be taken away as a form of punishment, and indoor recess strategies should be used in inclement weather.
Courtney said that these measures will help improve the health of Fayette County students.
She also reminded parents to utilize “mom power.”
“We hope these rallies will start a community conversation about creating environments and practices that help kids grow up healthy,” she said.
“By getting parents and community members engaged, we can advocate for these changes together. There’s no power like ‘mom power.’”