Feb. 16, 2012 — For school nurse and full-time mom of three kids, Linda Rosemeyer is one of many who face the challenges of having a child who is at risk of being obese. As most children, her oldest son has a sweet tooth and loves junk food. This habit, however, began when he was a child before Rosemeyer and her husband had adopted him.
"One of the biggest incentives for me and starting an obesity prevention program at my school is my son," she said. "I know how hard it is and go through some of the same struggles many of our parents do. But, I am fortunate to be in a unique position that I can have a direct impact on my students as well as my fifth grader."
As the nurse at Greenwood Forest Elementary, she found the data from yearly health screenings showed that 21 percent of GWF students, kindergarten to fifth grade, are obese. This, she noted, is higher than the national average of 17 percent. With this in mind she applied and won a $2,500 S.C.O.P.E. grant to begin an obesity prevention initiative called GWF Grizzles Get Fit. The program is in four parts, all in a combined school effort to address overcoming childhood obesity.
"As a parent, it is often hard to make nutrition a priority for both yourself and your kids. But as parents, we are the ones buying the groceries, preparing meals, planning family activities and schedules,” she said. "As an educator, we can teach children about healthy eating and making healthy choices but when they go home, we can't control what ultimately goes on their dinner plate.”
The first event began Jan. 19, 2012, and was titled the Super Bowl of Fitness. A physician from United Healthcare spoke to GFW parents and students about childhood obesity today and the new problems parents and children face. More than 300 participants were provided Subway sandwiches, and hands-on activities included evaluating healthy portion sizes, guessing sugar content in average foods and snacks, learning yoga and exercise fitness routines, etc.
"We wanted to show the parents and kids fun activities they can do together, and get them thinking about making lifestyle changes as a family" said Rosemeyer.