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Two year pilot program celebrates one year of fighting childhood obesity

By ALLISON NORLIAN

ONEONTA, N.Y. (WKTV) - One year ago, The Bassett Healthcare Network adopted a two year pilot program called, 5-2-1-0, they have used to battle childhood obesity in Otsego county. Wednesday night, they celebrated a year of success at Brook's House of Barbeque and discussed where they stand going into the next year.

The 5-2-1-0 program involves schools, work sites, health care providers and community preschool and after-school programs in Delhi and Edmeston. Each number stands for something different.

* 5 or more fruits and vegetables a day
*2 hours or less recreational screen time
*1 hour or more of physical activity
*0 sugary drinks, more water and low fat milk

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity now affects 17 percent of all children and adolescents in the United States and rural areas are not exempt. Dr. Stephen Cook, an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Golisano Children's Hospital in Rochester said, "Obesity prevalence data shows rural areas have a higher rate of obesity then certain urban populations or suburban populations. Poverty is the big predictor but its different mechanisms to getting there."

The Greater Rochester Obesity Collaborative held on Wednesday night in Cooperstown celebrated with food and drink. David Strogatz, Director of Bassett's Center for Rural Community Health said, " We made great progress in people recognizing the message, thinking about those daily goals and developing different kinds of approaches within each community... to trying to help parents and care givers reach those goals on a regular and daily basis."

Some of that progress comes from within the community. Delaware Academy, located in Delhi, has created a "0 hour" fitness; this is where motivated youth can come before school and do various circuit and workout routines. Edmeston, which never had a supermarket in town before, now has a small fresh produce market, where locals can buy all their fruits and vegetables.

Both experts said that parents have to realize it's the simple choices they make on a daily basis," Its not a matter of counting MG of fat, sodium or cholesterol in your diet," said Dr. Cook, "but its understanding simple ideas. My kids have already had a couple hours of TV time today, I really need to work on that... or my kids already had a soda today I shouldn't let them have another."

The physical data of the findings within the community have not been tallied yet, and Bassett still had another year of research. Dr. Cook believes getting everyone on board is going to involve a true cultural and social shift.

The institutes goal is that this healthy lifestyle shift stay's within these two communities after the two year pilot program is complete, and more communities jump on board to make their youth healthier.

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