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Walk to bring awareness to obesity problem

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MARIANNA (Times-Herald) - Childhood obesity is a growing problem not only in Arkansas, but in the United States. Organizers of an event scheduled for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., holiday hope to raise awareness of the issue and set a good example on how to improve the health for people of all ages.

On Monday, Jan. 21, the Lee County Family Resource Center in Marianna will sponsor St. Francis County Youth Heroes Walking For A Cause: Fighting Childhood Obesity at the Larry S. Bryant Multi-purpose and Wellness Center. Registration will be from 8:15 to 8:30 a.m., and the walk is set to begin at 9 a.m.

Arlene Freeman, the LCFRC Executive Director, said, "This is the first time we've had this event. Our agency has recently been awarded a Community Service Grant through the National United Healthcare /United Health Heroes Project, and we chose to serve St. Francis County. We want to bring attention to the issue of childhood obesity."

Freeman provided some statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The statistics show that about 17 percent of all Americans, ages 2 to 19, or about 12.5 million children, are obese. Those figures have tripled since 1980, according to the information provided.

"We want our children to live long, healthy lives, and walking is a great way to start," Freeman said. "It is good for people of all ages, not just children. We will be serving healthy refreshments after the event. Later on, we will hold a healthy class party for the school class or youth organization that has the most participation in the event."

For more information, contact Freeman at 870-295-5136 or Cassie Lewis at 633-6812.

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