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Nutrition and fitness programs help East Palo Alto turn the tide on childhood obesity

A recent Peninsula Press story highlights the success of Stanford GOALS and other East Palo Alto, Calif.-based programs in helping promote healthier lifestyles and reduce childhood obesity rates in the low-income community. Kristina Krohn writes:

A team of researchers including Dr. Dana Weintraub, a clinical assistant professor in pediatrics at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, has enrolled more than 100 kids [in the Stanford GOALS program] since September and is still recruiting. The seven-year study, which accepts only children whose BMI is greater than the 85th percentile, combines after-school team sports with home visits to promote a healthy diet.

Information collected by area school districts shows that nearly 42 percent of East Palo Alto fifth-graders were overweight or obese during the 2010-11 school year, compared with 24 percent of their peers throughout San Mateo County. Physicians and community leaders, however, point to evidence that a pattern of rising weight gain in the city appears to be leveling off.

Elizabeth Baca, MD, a clinical instructor at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, emphasized that reducing childhood obesity in East Palo Alto will involve a comprehensive approach that addresses nutrition, exercise and safety, saying, "Its not just one magic thing or we would have done that by now."

The above video produced by Stanford student Adelaide Oneal captures the efforts of another nonprofit, Collective Roots, which operates at the East Palo Alto Farmer's Market and offers community-based cooking, gardening and nutrition classes.

Previously: Doctors tackling child hunger during the summer and Seniors help build a blueprint for a healthier city

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