End Obesity Now


Childhood Obesity is a Problem Nationwide…

            Nationwide, the prevalence of obesity among children more than tripled in the past 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


(The above chart shows obesity rates for adults in Lake County)


Help Prevent Childhood Obesity in Lake County

            Donations to the Lake Health District Fund are vital to the success of the Lake County Childhood Obesity Prevention Program to provide school, community, and family-based education programs in Lake County.  All funds directly support Lake County General Health District's Childhood Obesity Prevention programming.  Please Contact Ron Graham, Health Commissioner, at 440.350.2358 or to make a donation.


And in Lake County

            Childhood Obesity is a growing problem within our community.  An Ohio Department of Health body mass index study shows Lake County third -grade students' overweight/obesity prevalence increased from 25.9 percent in 2004-2005 to 28 percent in 2009-2010.  These results indicate more than one in four children in Lake County is overweight.


Reversing the Trend

            The Healthy Lifestyle Initiative provides school, community, and family-based education programs with a focus on making healthy diet, lifestyle, and environmental changes.

            The Healthy Lifestyle Initiative also offers school-based support to children identified as having a potential body weight concern.  The center provides office-based counseling to the family, not just the child.



Lake County General Health District’s

Obesity Prevention and Wellness Focused Programs


Lake County Healthy Lifestyle Initiative

            The Lake County Healthy Lifestyle Initiative will be the first family capacity building system created in Lake County to increase the number of individuals who are guided to the appropriate resources.  Families will be welcomed to the Lake County General Health District, their needs will be assessed, and the family wellness system will take appropriate action to find the best community programs available that are most reasonable.

            The specific purpose for requesting funds for The Lake County Healthy Lifestyle Initiative is to systematically organize county resources to educate children and their families on childhood obesity.  Based on the Community Needs Assessment that was conducted in 2010 in Lake County, childhood obesity was the 3rd main concern (with adult obesity being number 1).  It is important to take a step in the right direction to address the needs of the community.  By taking that step, a county-wide system needs to be put in place to help obese families overcome this epidemic.  This county-wide system will depend on community partners to work with the Lake County General Health District to identify proper resources for families

Families will receive educational material that includes information about nutrient dense foods, tips for a healthy grocery cart, exercise schedules and routines, and ways to adopt a proactive viewpoint on disease prevention. The Lake County General Health District will partner with community organizations to help reduce the barriers between families in need and local resources.  The goal is to increase the number of families who receive appropriate care to ensure high physical activity levels, proper nutrition habits, a healthy BMI and take on a proactive role in staying well.


--------------------------------------------JUST RUN® Lake County------------------------------------------


JUST RUN Lake County invites Lake County Schools to identify a program coordinator in order to implement a 5k challenge for school aged children.  The program introduces children to jogging/running via daily/weekly conditioning with the ultimate goal of entering into a local 5k race.  The Lake County General Health District provides the financial support to cover the cost of 5k entrance fee and a program t-shirt.  A financial stipend is also provided to the schools for the program coordinator to purchase small incentives/training supplies for the program.  Established in 2010, Perry and Kirtland School Districts are currently participating in this program.

---------------------------------------ACHIEVE Wellness Lake County---------------------------------


ACHIEVE (Action Communities for Health, Innovation, and EnVironmental ChangE) fosters collaborative partnerships between city and county health officials, city and county government, tribal programs, parks and recreation departments, local YMCAs, local health-related coalitions, and other representatives from the school, business, health, and community sectors provide encouragement and monetary support to build healthy environments and create policies that spark behavior change, specifically to improve nutrition and physical activity habits. 

ACHIEVE Wellness works with many sectors of the Lake County community, including schools and businesses.  Examples of improvements and other efforts include:

  • Vending machine policies, bike rack installation, bike to work days, food guidelines for meetings, onsite fitness classes, educational sessions, annual health screenings, access to indoor and outdoor walking paths, and other wellness efforts occurred in various Lake County workplaces.
  • Community garden plots will become available in the spring of 2012 to community residents in two participating municipalities, Mentor and Concord.
  • Student exposure to marked walking paths, recess before lunch, marathon clubs, school gardens and greenhouses, student and parent involvement after-school fitness sessions, healthy food tasting, staff and student involvement with bike to school days, healthy cooking labs, Veggie U implementation, development of a fundraising guide and menu policies occurred in various Lake County schools.
  • Development of a website in 2009, maintained by Lake County GIS, for the community to obtain resources and other information on health and wellness.  This includes an interactive map that identifies countless opportunities for physical activity in the county, ranging from school play grounds to skateboard parks to bowling allies.  This site is designed to assist residents with improving their lifestyle.   
  • Bike Days Lake County, a series of events scheduled for May and June 2012, will promote biking as part of a healthy lifestyle.  These family oriented events will take place in seven Lake County communities.  Cleveland Clinic provided $2,000 in the form of a sponsorship.
  • Hosting a Worksite Wellness Workshop, attracted fifty employees from various Lake County businesses and provided a learning experience on worksite wellness efforts, specifically in terms of policy and environmental change.
  • Food & Nutrition classes, held yearly, May through October, have attracted over 200 participants in 2010 and 2011.  Participants received vouchers to purchase fresh produce and foods at Farmer’s markets.  To date, approximately $2,000 in vouchers have been provided to community residents.
  • Bringing several prominent national speakers into the 2012 local conference, NEO Planning and Zoning Workshop.  This purpose is to engage city planners and zoning inspectors in our efforts, as well as educate them on the ideas and importance of built environment. 
  • Award recognition for both partners and grantees of ACHIEVE Wellness for their work and contributions related to the initiative. 


      Veggie U


            Veggie University was implemented in 6 schools through a partnership with the Ohio Department of Health and the Health District’s ACHIEVE initiative to help expose children to gardening and fresh vegetables.  The reusable kits allow    teachers to provide students with indoor vegetable growing kits provide while providing education and a hands-on nutrition experience aimed to increasing vegetable intake.


Time Warner's Active Channel and ACHIEVE Wellness Lake County

Time Warner Cable is releasing a new "health" focused channel for Northeast Ohio titled Activate.  The channel is Time Warner's effort to assist in reducing the level of obesity in the viewing area.  The ACHIEVE Wellness initiative, along with many of the other obesity efforts, caught the eye of Time Warner staff as the key leader in Lake County.  The Health District was able to negotiate a free Public Service Announcement that will run on several major cable channels over six weeks urging residents to "Learn How.  Start Now." by visiting the ACHIEVE Wellness website and using the resources available.  The Director of Community Health Services will also be working on an ad spot for the Healthy Lifestyles Initiative and the fundraising arm of the effort,  Businesses are being sought to help underwrite additional programming.  Once fully launched, the Activate channel will provide "on demand" programming to viewers.  The Activate channel is sponsored by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and other large partners. 



WIC's Obesity Screening and Education Program-

WIC participated in Healthy Heroes Activity Boxes, where any child ages 3-4 who have a BMI greater than or equal to the 85th percentile will receive additional nutritional and physical activity counseling along with a toy, book, DVD or coloring book promoting physical activity. This project helps to empower the children to make their own choices of how they want to increase physical activity and/or create a healthier lifestyle specific to them. WIC has changed its foods to align with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and follow infant feeding practices from the American Academy of Pediatric guidelines. WIC promotes physical activity along with supporting good nutrition through one on one nutrition education and counseling with a licensed dietitian and monthly nutrition classes.WIC also partners with Healthy Ohio for a statewide campaign to publish advertisements that promote the health benefits of being physically active.



    WIC Breastfeeding

WIC promotes and supports breastfeeding throughout Lake County to help fight against obesity from the very beginning of life. WIC has a designated breastfeeding peer team dedicated to supporting moms through one on one breastfeeding counseling, group sessions, monthly classes and hospital visits.


     WIC Farmer’s Market Grants

WIC offers additional farmer’s market vouchers to encourage locally grown fruits and vegetables. All eligible families receive an additional $15.00 to spend at the farmer’s markets throughout the summer months.



--------The Weighting Game: County-Wide Childhood Obesity Awareness Play--------

The purpose of the play is to raise awareness of how being overweight or obese can impact the life choices of families and children.  Currently titled “The Weighting Game”, the play is being developed in partnership with The Fine Arts Association of Willoughby and screen writer Mr. Greg Vovos.  The play will be held at the Fine Arts Association and the Health District is looking for schools to support the play event through field trips and by encouraging parents, community workers, and interested businesses to show their support.  After the play, attendees will have the opportunity to provide feedback about the play and current concerns that they may have or problems they are experiencing.



---LCGHD to Support 2012 Lake County News Herald’s "Lighten Up" Challenge---

The News-Herald approached the Health District and the recently developed Healthy Lifestyles Initiative to assist with the expansion of its Lighten Up Challenge which operates similarly to the popular "biggest loser contest".  Division staff will work to provide the 15 participants assigned to the Health District with weigh-ins and counseling one Saturday per month for a period of two hours.  A portion of the participants will agree to interviews, participate in web blogs, and have their weight and personal stories published in The News-Herald.  The ability for the Health District to participate in such a "public" program will be very beneficial to assisting with the increased awareness of the Healthy Lifestyle Initiative clinic, as well as the role the District plays in the community.  Additionally, the Health District provides weekly reminders and partnered with Lake Health and the Lake County Y to provide free educational classes and a 4-month pass to the Y to help support the contestants in adopting a healthier lifestyle.


----------------------------------------------Well Child Clinics------------------------------------------------

Families who attend the Child and Adolescent Well Child Clinic receive basic nutrition screening (height & weight, hemoglobin, lead, urinalysis, BMI calculation) and review of the individual’s 24 hour food history by a licensed dietitian.  Additionally, a health educator presents individualized nutrition education that provides families with practical examples to make improvements in food selection and physical activity.


-------Perry School District's 21st Century Grant/Quest After School Program------

The success of the LCGHD's JUST RUN® program made the Health District the logical first contact for Perry during their planning.  The 21st Century/Quest program supports for children the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours.  Part of the enrichment opportunities can be in the area of nutrition and physical activity.  The Health District will contract with Perry to provide an evidence based model for the after school program that looks to serve 150 at-risk students over 18 weeks with sessions being held from 2:35 p.m.-5:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday.


It's Beginning to Work

            Here is how Lake County school students are discovering the healthy benefits of exercise:

  • More than 200 students in Kirtland, Willoughby-Eastlake, and Perry schools are participating in the JUST RUN® program.  These students are training with an eye toward running a 5-kilometer race.
  • Students at North High School in Eastlake have learned how to Start Living Smart by participating in Zumba, yoga, and other physical activities with their parents and grandparents.
  • Fifth- graders at Elm Street Elementary School in Painesville enjoy Dancing Classrooms where they learn how to foxtrot, merengue, waltz, rumba, swing, and tango their way to better health.



Obese Children Face Serious Issues

Obesity knows no boundaries -- it touches all ages, ethnic groups, and educational levels.  Studies show that some obese children are more likely to:

  • Be bullied and hazed
  • Have lower self-esteem and a negative body image
  • Suffer from higher rates of depression
  • Experience physical health problems
  • Have unhealthy attitudes and values about food, which may carry into adulthood
  • Experience learning difficulties because of a preoccupation with food