At the end of July, a special nutrition class will be held at the Aiken County Public Library to help teach area children the importance of a balanced diet.
The nutrition class is hosted by Subway, which has been putting on nutrition classes at local libraries across the Augusta-area market over the past several weeks.
The goal of the nutrition class is to not only improve children's overall health but to help combat childhood obesity in particular, which affects one in five children in the United States, according to the CDC.
“It's no surprise that we have an obesity epidemic on our hands," said Farrah Wigand, Certified Specialist in Obesity Weight Management at Real for You Nutrition.
Wigand explained via email that the U.S. obesity rate has skyrocketed in the past 30 years. Obesity rates were less than 15 percent in 49 states in the '90s. Now, obesity rates exceed 25 percent in 48 states.
Wigand said weight management is a "complex health issue" that can be caused by a variety of factors, such as genetics, food marketing and promotion, and education.
"We have to combat this disease through early education and encouragement to improve the health of our future leaders," Wigand said. "Research shows that childhood and adolescence is the time to establish patterns of healthy eating and active living that leads to lifelong health and wellness.”
During the class at the library, children will learn basic nutrition information, have a hands-on sub-making activity with fresh vegetables and will be provided with a free meal. They will also be given a take-home coloring book on food exploration.
The name of the event, Share the Color, comes from the emphasis of the class on adding colorful fruits and vegetables to one's diet. Children will be taught to look for color on their plates when adding fruits and vegetables.
Jeff Cope, Board Chair at Subway of Augusta, said childhood obesity is a "national issue" that affects all Americans.
"We are proud to be presenting these events in the Augusta area, and helping not only the kids, but everyone learn that a little bit of color in their diet goes a long way toward a healthier life for years to come," Cope said in an email.
The Aiken class will be held at the Aiken County Public Library on Wednesday, July 31 at 12:30 p.m.
Registration is required for this event and must be done by July 15. There is no cost to register. For more information, contact the Aiken County Public Library at 803-642-2020.
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