Dietitians tackle childhood obesity and food insecurity

BOSTON (WWLP) – Obese children are five times more likely to be obese adults. 22 News spoke with dietitians that are aiming to change that statistic.

A Massachusetts Dietetic Association study focused on childhood obesity and food insecurity, two things driven by high poverty rates and unemployment.

16 million American children were “food insecure” last year. The Massachusetts Dietetic Association says the issue of inconsistent access to food hits close to home.

“11.1% of Massachusetts are under low income households and there are a lot of issues facing those children,” said Gisele LeBlanc, President of the Massachusetts Dietetic Association.

Low income households tend to buy the least expensive foods that are low in nutrients and high in calories, which can lead to childhood obesity. Former Patriots Tight End, Jermaine Wiggins, joined dietitians from across the state to work on getting more children healthy and fit.

“My biggest thing here is just to get some of the nutritionists and dietitians to understand how important it is for kids to get out and play 60 minutes a day, get exercise, eat right, be healthy, and how those things will change their lives,” said Jermaine Wiggins, former New England Patriots tight end.

The Dietetic Association wants state lawmakers to establish a “Massachusetts Food Trust Program” to increase access to fresh and healthy foods. The Food Trust would provide funding to expand farmers markets and food stores that provide healthy foods to under served families in the state.

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