Did you know that in the United States, childhood obesity alone is estimated to cost $14 billion annually in direct health expenses? According to The State of Obesity (, obesity rates among teens ages 12 to 19 quadrupled from 5 percent to 20.6 percent. Nearly one in five youth (ages 6-19) in the US are considered obese, according to the CDC ( Our addiction to technology is only getting worse and it’s happening at the same time budgets for after school activities and less popular sports are getting cut throughout the nation. So, what can a small town do to help fight childhood obesity and help create a healthy community? It starts by taking just one step.

Lace up your walking shoes, dust off your fanny pack (they’re back in style now), and call your closest friend to meet you outside for a walk. Invite your neighbors, your partners, and especially your children. As we all know, children mirror the behavior they see the adults in their life doing. Are we spending too much time on our phones? Are we eating healthy meals and talking to our kids about proper nutrition? Do our children see us being active for at least 30 minutes every day? If the answer is no, there is more at stake than just our children’s lives, but also our own.

Tessa Adams, M. Ed, is a Project Hope program specialist.

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