Childhood obesity is a problem all over the nation, Mississippi being no exception. However, the state is now fighting obesity starting in public schools.
Schools are taking out soda machines and replacing them with healthier options. Cafeterias are now required to serve healthier foods.
First Lady Michelle Obama will be in Mississippi Wednesday. Childhood obesity is an area of concern for her and that creates a national platform.
However, what children see and are taught outside of school plays a large role in their future eating habits.
"Parents first and foremost can be a role model to their kids by teaching their kids how to eat at home," said licensed dietitian Crystal Phillips at Rush Hospital.
Even single parents or parents with busy work schedules have no excuse when it comes to serving a meal with balanced nutrition.
"Restaurants and fast food are still an option. There are healthy choices at fast food. Rather than a hamburger ,eat a grilled chicken sandwich, baked potatoes in place of French fries," said Phillips. "There's always healthy choices. Fruit cups at some fast food restaurants and low-fat milk for kids to decrease the sweetened beverages those carbonated beverages."
Maintaining a balanced diet is not the only way that can prevent childhood obesity. Making sure your kid gets at least 30 minutes of some form of physical activity is also part of a healthy lifestyle.
"Increasing physical activity and encouraging your kids to go to recess and exercise and choose recess and try to use recess at school is an optimal way to get exercise," Phillips said.
Learning these good habits young helps to ensure a healthy lifestyle.