(02/20/2012)
"It is a public health emergency," says WV Public Health Officials.

West Virginia kids are obese, with epidemic pre-cursors to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart problems, but most notably the onset of diabetes.

Thirty-percent of Calhoun's Fifth graders are obese, and most of the state's children are not far behind.

Particularly hard struck are children in rural areas. "This is a real problem in small rural counties," said Del. Brent Boggs.

"West Virginia's children are developing adult diseases early in life because of their lack of physical activity, because of obesity and overweight," said Gina Wood, manager of WV's Diabetes Prevention and Control Program.

Just one of many diet problems is the consumption of soda and sugar-laden juices and milk.

The sale of soda, known locally as pop, to Calhoun County is at a rate higher that most Little Kanawha counties.

Each soda has 80 grams of sugar, equal to 20 teaspoons of sugar.

School breakfast and lunch programs have been notorious for poor diet, but education officials claim changes are being made.

Diabetes alone will cost state residents $1 billion a year to treat.

West Virginia has among the highest rates of adult obesity in the US.

The Charleston Gazette devoted much of its Sunday edition to the health crisis.

See This is a public health emergency


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