Carson City is one of the first cities in the nation to join the "We Can" movement - a drive by the federal Department of Health and Human Services to reduce the number of obese children and adolescents.
Martha Framsted, of the Nevada Health Division, said there are an estimated 12 million American children who are overweight. She said that puts them at risk for chronic illnesses, including high cholesterol, diabetes and asthma.
The "We Can" drive kicked off Thursday at the Children's Museum of Northern Nevada with singing and dancing by children from Bordewich-Bray Elementary School and the Washoe Tribe's Head Start program. They put on a show for dignitaries, including Mayor Marv Teixeira, Assemblywoman Bonnie Parnell, Carson City School District Superintendent Mary Pierczynski, tribal chairman Waldo Walker, Appeal publisher John DiMambro and Sheriff Kenny Furlong.
In addition to the city Parks and Recreation Department, the school district, Children's Museum, Nevada Health Division and the Washoe Tribe are working to develop programs to improve nutrition and increase the amount of exercise children get in this area.
Barbara Singer, of Parks and Recreation, said the coalition will develop a series of special events and nutrition groups to help educate parents on how to improve what their children eat.
Kim Neiman, wellness coordinator for the Washoe Tribe, said a key to improving the health of children is "less screen time" - meaning the number of hours spent in front of a television or computer.
Neiman and Singer said an organizational meeting will be held before Christmas to begin developing events, classes and other ideas to improve nutrition and encourage children to be more active. Singer said anyone who wants to participate is welcome to contact her at 887-2290, ext. 100.