According to the Center for Disease Control, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Putting many at risk for high blood pressure, diabetes and early death. That's why a new partnership between United Health Care and the Vermilion Parish School System is so critical.
The partnership is aimed at educating students and their parents on the importance of getting healthier by exercising and eating right. The program called Activate for Kids will be the first of its kind in the state and will be piloted at Eaton Park Elementary, Herod Elementary and LeBlanc Elementary, all located in Abbeville.
The school based program comes at no cost to parents and will be implemented this upcoming school year. According to Vermilion Parish School Superintendent Jerome Puyau, United Health Care will hire someone to work in the three schools. They will work with community members and the staff to teach students how to live a healthy lifestyle and teach them exercises.
The hired wellness coordinator will visit each school and do a baseline assessment on the students and then set up a program that will get the students healthier by the end of the school year. Puyau hopes this will help curb the growing childhood obesity problem.
If this program is successful, Puyau says it could be implemented throughout schools in Vermilion Parish.