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Initiative uses gardening to make kids healthier

Posted On Wed, September 29, 2010

The American Heart Association is teaming up with environmental and health activist Kelly Meyer to combat childhood obesity. The duo are promoting their "Teaching Gardens" initiative.

The program aims to educate children in elementary and middle schools about the benefits of eating healthy by having them plant and grow their own produce.

"When I heard the staggering statistics about how much obesity-related illnesses are impacting our children, I was driven to do something to inspire kids to get healthy," says Meyer. "The simple process of putting a seed into the earth, nurturing it and harvesting the food teaches our kids to make positive choices for health and fitness."

Children who fail to learn proper eating habits in their youth are likely continue to consume a poor diet in adulthood. Those who are obese are at an increased risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer. Such ailments are not only life-threatening, but can result in higher health and life insurance premiums as well.

The Mayo Clinic recommends families make being healthy something everyone participates in. They say starting off with small steps, such as not watching television while eating dinner and drinking milk and water instead of soda can help children start their healthier lifestyle.

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