Obesity program offers free groceries but lacks participants
Faybeeon and Jaybereon Travis like all things salty and sweet. Like most 11-year-olds, they don't look at nutritional facts when selecting a snack, though their lunchtime habits are changing.
"We got to learn about what we should and should not eat ," Jaybereon said. "More bananas and stuff, and less hot chips."
The twins and their mother are one of the first families to enter the Shawnee Christian Healthcare childhood obesity study. The doctor's office won a $200,000 grant to design a program for the whole family. The program includes free cooking classes, one-on-one workouts, doctor's visits and even free groceries for six weeks.
"It's just hard to get people to commit," said Sandy Marshall-King, a patient navigator. "I can have 50-60 people register, but when the program begins, only have six or seven show up."
It's frustrating for Marshall-King as Kentucky leads the nation in childhood obesity and preventable death.
"We have a passion for this, and it's important to us, and to have families not participate, it hurts, it hurts," she said.
One year in, the study is widening from just the Shawnee neighborhood to all of Louisville. Organizers must get enough participants to meet the terms of the grant.
"We started working out each morning and started riding our bikes," Jaybereon said.
"We stopped eating late and we started eating less foods with sugar in it," Faybeeon said.
The boys built a garden. Now eating tomatoes, greens, cabbage, corn and pepper fresh off the vine. The Travis family lost 26 pounds.
"It took time from us always sitting down and watching TV," Faybeeon said.
But old habits die hard. Those hot chips still made the lunch box.
"It's a curse that we have passed from generation to generation, and somewhere somebody has got to stand up and break that curse," Marshall-King said/ "We are that somebody."
For more information on the program, contact Sandy Marshall-King at (502) 778-0001.
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