Childhood Obesity

AP Photo.

A new committee has been formed with members who want to encourage Washington residents to lead healthier lifestyles.

The Washington Wellness Committee is dedicated to educating children and parents with ways they can incorporate healthy changes into their lives by providing them with resources available in the area.

“The point is that we’re in this health care crisis,” said Brandy Foss, a committee member who also is a registered nurse. “Kids are getting diseases that once only old people got, so really our mission is making people in our community aware of all the awesome resources we have and just educating them.”

Foss said she blames childhood obesity on many of the conditions found throughout elementary age children today.

“When I was in school, I only knew one (child) who was a diabetic,” she said. “There were none with ADD or ADHD or on medication. I didn’t have any friends die of cancer, or any friends on cholesterol or blood pressure medication, and that’s what’s happening today.”

“In California, two 10-year-olds last year were diagnosed with breast cancer. I believe obesity is the cause of this.”

Committee member Jamie Kuenzie, an occupational therapist and CrossFit instructor, said she grew up with asthma and was on six to eight different medications for asthma and allergies.

“I just accepted that was the norm,” she said. “I didn’t know life could be any different, but when I changed my food, I was able to get off all those medications.”

The group is taking its first steps to educate children (and adults) about ways to fight health problems that may be related to poor diet and lack of exercise by hosting a health fair they are calling “Wake Up to Wellness.”

Although it is still in the early planning stage, the event is scheduled for Saturday, March 9, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the city park auditorium.

Booths will be available on the upper level and the lower level will be reserved for guest speakers and exercise demonstrations.

All area schools are invited to participate in the health fair, along with businesses and groups or organizations that promote health awareness.