Arkansas First Lady Ginger Beebe has written the following letter to parents to encourage healthy eating habits as the holidays approach:
October 27, 2009
As the First Lady of Arkansas, I feel I have a responsibility toward the children of our state. They are our future. We must teach them how to lead healthy, productive lives, and encourage
nutritious habits at home and at school.
Childhood obesity continues to be a major problem in Arkansas. Almost 38 percent of Arkansas children and teens are overweight or obese, compared to 29 percent nationwide. Being overweight not only contributes to other health problems, it also affects academic performance. Overweight and obese children have lower grades and test scores. The obesity epidemic is not something we can ignore; fighting it requires a persistent focus and daily efforts to reform our eating and fitness routines.
The holiday season is quickly approaching. As you prepare snacks and treats for your children's school parties, I encourage you to send healthy foods. Consider recipes high in fruits, trail mix, or vegetables with low-fat dip, and serve water, milk and juice instead of soda.
It's essential that we celebrate students' successes and achievements, but we must be sure to do so in ways that are beneficial, not harmful, to their health. When your children are home for the holiday break, make sure they remain active. Take family walks or utilize facilities at local community centers, gyms or Boys and Girls Clubs.
Keep an eye on my Web site, www.arkansasfirstlady.com
. In a new section, "Healthy Habits,"
I'll share easy-to-prepare recipes that your children can bring to class celebrations, as well as
other tips for healthy living.
It's up to you, parents. We must be role models and set examples for our children they will carry with them their entire lives. I hope you'll join me as I urge parents and teachers to be mindful of the foods you are feeding your children, and to promote exercise all year long.