At our backcountry collaborative meeting this week, a guest speaker from the San Diego County Office of Education talked about the growing national obesity epidemic. Consider these frightening statistics she mentioned:
-A child born today in the U.S. is likely to have a shorter lifespan than his/her parents.
-40% of children in San Diego County are considered overweight or clincally obese.
-The Department of Defense has called the obesity epidemic an issue of national security because 75% of young people otherwise eligible for service in the armed forces cannot pass the fitness test.
The good news is that we are starting to see an increased emphasis on physical education, outdoor exposure, and healthy eating habits in school programs, community initiatives and funding opportunities. Similarly, increasing attention is also being placed on connecting school children to local, fresh food, often through school garden programs. One thing I hope to do more with kids at our school is to help them understand where and how food is grown in our community, starting with our neighborhood farms and reaching out into the county.
Yesterday I led an after school field trip for the GATE students to Volcan View Farms where we were given a tour by local farmer and early-friend-to-our-school-garden, Ryan Wannamaker.