Something is happening to our kids. It's impacting their ability to play. Grow healthy and strong. Even their ability to live.
"So what we have in the central valley is really a crisis and we really need to do things to prevent it from continuing."
What we have is an epidemic of obese children.
Nationally, the number of overweight kids has tripled in the last 30 years. From 7% in 1980, to 20% in 2008. In the valley, the number has ballooned to more than 35%.
"I'm going to start making more baked foods."
It's a matter of concern for Vanessa Osequeda of Fresno. She has 4-year-old Julian and another child on the way. She's come to the Women, Infants & Children or WIC office near Pinedale to re-learn how to cook.
"They show me how to make chicken healthy way by baking it instead of frying it. Different ways to get him to eat vegetables."
Why has childhood obesity reached epidemic proportions? Experts say there are reasons. Entertainment shifting from outdoor play to indoor play.
Food choices shifting from family made meals to drive through dinners. And then there's beverage selection.
"In the 1970's we began to increase the size and consumption of soda and the soda in many instances is the elephant in the room with the obesity epidemic."
Where you live also plays a role. Genoveva Islas-Hooker is with the Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program (CCROPP). She says our poor communities, like southeast Fresno have higher obesity rates.
"What we find is those communities that are most impoverished are those communities that have the least health promoting assets and amenities."
"There's no safe crosswalk designation either from this side or to cross over to the other side."
Amenities like sidewalks encouraging kids to walk to and from school. Neighborhood grocery stores that sell fresh produce. Green-spaces like parks that promote outdoor play
"When you begin to make all of those connections you begin to see why the obesity epidemic and these diseases are affecting low income people more."
And when obese kids grow into overweight adults with series health concerns like heart disease and diabetes. That affects our communities as a whole.