North Idaho

Health district introduces obesity program

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - An Idaho state report estimates at least 20 percent of children entering public school in the Idaho panhandle are overweight. The Panhandle Health District wants to change that statistic.

District representatives said they want to reach younger children, especially those in preschool, through a new program to develop healthier eating habits before problems set in later on in life. The program will be called "Color Me Health".

The Idaho community foundation is funding the program that is expected to reach more than 150 child care centers in the panhandle. Teachers will talk about recipes, exercise and the six food groups using colors.

Health district introduces obesity program

"They'll begin to focus on how to have a nutritious lunch, a nutritious breakfast and to do recreational activities. They will then begin to interact with their parents (and tell them), 'We need to eat healthy,'" said Bob Hooper with Panhandle Health District.

The district said the program, or ones similar to it, are already used in many preschools. They said their version will launch this fall.