July 7, 2002 | By: Aimee D. Heald

In the last two decades, the population of overweight children has risen to an alarming rate in the United States, especially in Kentucky.

"It's not that our genes have changed that much during the last 25 years," said Janet Tietyen, Extension food and nutrition specialist for the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. "What has changed is the environment in which children are growing up. They are watching more television, using the computer and in turn they have less physical activity. Also, they have more access to high-calorie foods."

Tietyen is part of a September 25 conference, which will aim to provide participants with the tools to create communities that reduce the prevalence of overweight children. The Growing Healthy Kids in Kentucky Conference is an all-day event at the Fayette County Cooperative Extension Office.
Topics include school nutrition and food service, vending machine choices, healthy activities, community involvement and programs offered by the Kentucky Department of Education and the Kentucky Department of Public Health.

"We want community leaders to learn more about what they can do to create communities where children will develop healthy weights," Tietyen said. "We also want to show them how to make communities and classrooms places where people can get more physical activity."

The conference begins at 8:30 a.m. with registration and a continental breakfast and ends at 4:30 p.m. after a short meeting evaluation and wrap-up. Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Steve Henry is scheduled to be the keynote speaker for the lunch program. Henry is the chairman for the Task Force on Nutrition and Fitness for Kentucky Children.

"We encourage county Extension agents for family and consumer sciences and 4-H-youth development, public health educators, registered dietitians, school food service professionals, administrators and teachers, parents and concerned civic leaders to attend this informative conference," Tietyen said. "We are going to give participants practical things they can take back to their communities to help grow healthier kids."

Attendees will take home several informational fact sheets and handouts, a compact disc of the presentations and resource materials, a copy of the video "Planting Seeds to Grow Healthier Kids," and information about online resources to use in action plans.

Registration is $15 plus $6 for a box lunch and must be postmarked no later than Sept. 13, 2002. The conference is limited to the first 200 registrants. The registration form is available on the UK web site at: http://www.ca.uky.edu/kids.pdf. Make checks payable to the Fayette County Extension Service and mail with registration forms to Fayette County Extension Office, GROWING HEALTHY KIDS IN KENTUCKY, 1140 Red Mile Place, Lexington, KY 40504-1172.

Continuing education hours will be submitted for certified nutritionists, registered dietitians, certified health education specialists, registered nurses and social workers.

For more information, or to have a registration packet mailed to you, contact Janet Tietyen at (859) 257-1812.


Janet Tietyen  859-257-1812