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UNC Program Aims To Get Kids In Action

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — At a time when one out of five kids is overweight and 15 percent of children are obese, can anything make a difference? A new program is taking another shot at tackling the epidemic.

A new national campaign unveiled Monday hopes to do more to combat childhood obesity. "Get Kids in Action"is led by the University of North Carolina School of Public Health.

"We'll do more research, but rapid implementation. This is about action to really make a difference in for kids in America," said Dr. Bill Roper, dean of the UNC School of Public Health.

The campaign includes practical hands-on information. A

Web site

lets parents calculate their child's obesity risk.

UNC athletes will also mentor elementary and middle school children. They will serve as role models, hopefully inspiring kids.

"I hope it inspires them to change their behavior as far as diet and exercise goes," Roper said.

Roper believes this combination will help the program succeed where others have failed.

"Those are unique features that have never been brought together before," he said.

Future plans include working with schools and groups like the YMCA to reach more children.

Change, an innovative program at the Goldsboro Y, is working for 6-year-old Rachel Byrne. She is more active and has already lost more than 10 pounds in 6 months.

The goal is to lay the stepping stones for a lifetime of better health.

Get Kids in Action is funded by a $4 million grant from Gatorade.


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