United Way’s Healthy Eating Trail is designed to engage parents and children in fun, interactive, and educational activities which promote learning and health education and encourages healthy food choices. The Healthy Eating Trail consists of ten learning and activity stations which are spread throughout various departments of local grocery stores, each of which covers a different food topic. The Healthy Eating Trail will equip children and their caregivers with the tools and information they need to make healthier decisions as they shop at local grocers.
Obesity, and particularly childhood obesity, is a rapidly growing problem in America today. According to the Frederick County Human Needs Assessment, 28% of the Frederick County population is obese, 29% suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure), 6% from chronic heart disease, and 9% from diabetes. This means that more than 64,000 Frederick County citizens are unhealthy and at risk for other serious health complications (Community Foundation of Frederick County). As a community we must recognize the long-term costs associated with health complications stemming from obesity by seeking ways to attack some of the primary causes of childhood obesity.
United Way’s Healthy Eating Trail seeks to accomplish several objectives. Firstly, the trail will encourage and foster interaction between caregivers and their children in creative ways that drive early learning, language, and literacy skills. Secondly, the trail seeks to educate children and their caregivers about the health benefits and strategies they can use to make healthier food choices at the grocery store. Finally, the project is designed to drive purchasing decisions towards healthier food alternatives through education, encouragement, interaction, and by involving children in food purchases and meal plan decision making.
Ultimately the objective is to increase the overall health of Fredrick County, specifically targeting childhood obesity and other diet-related health complications.