Heart-AssociationToday marks the start of Childhood Obesity Awareness Month in Iowa. Kassi Wessing, spokeswoman for the American Heart Association of Iowa, says they’re launching a month-long, get-healthy challenge for all Iowa families.

“One in three kids are overweight or obese,” Wessing says. “Some people may not realize it, but this is the number-one health concern for parents today. It’s a top-of-mind issue and there’s a lot of people out there working to overcome this epidemic.” The “Life is Why” Family Health Challenge being launched this morning is available at the Heart Association website and it will run for the next four weeks.

“Every week, we’re going to focus on a different way to improve the health of your family,” Wessing says. “We’re going to offer you free tools and resources to help you get to that ideal profile of health.” She hopes the challenge will help Iowa families to gain some traction in the effort to curb obesity.

Wessing says, “Really, the goal is to raise awareness about childhood obesity while empowering parents to make simple and healthy changes to their diet and activity level that will have a greater impact for many years to come.”

The challenge during the first week deals with the perception that buying lots of fresh fruits and vegetables at the grocery store will be very expensive. Other weeks will deal with issues like cutting back on sugary drinks, cutting sodium in the diet, and on how to boost physical activity with the family. Learn more at: www.heart.org or on the Heart Association Facebook page.

(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)