Albany woman hopes to fight obesity both locally and nationally - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany woman hopes to fight obesity both locally and nationally

  • More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>

  • Albany cheerleading team could be on reality show

    Albany cheerleading team could be on reality show

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:42 PM EDT2014-07-31 03:42:06 GMT
    Dr. Latonya Peterson, Assistant CoachDr. Latonya Peterson, Assistant Coach
    An Albany cheerleading team could be featured on a reality show. More than 50 girls tried out to join the two time national champion Albany Elite “Tiger Paws.”More >>
    An Albany cheerleading team could be featured on a reality show. More than 50 girls tried out to join the two time national champion Albany Elite “Tiger Paws.”More >>
  • Veterans to learn about benefits at American Legion event

    Veterans to learn about benefits at American Legion event

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:34 PM EDT2014-07-31 03:34:18 GMT
    William D. Simmons, American Legion 2nd District CommanderWilliam D. Simmons, American Legion 2nd District Commander
    American Legion leaders are preparing for an event to help South Georgia veterans learn more about the benefits they earned. More >>
    American Legion leaders are preparing for an event to help South Georgia veterans learn more about the benefits they earned. More >>
  • MCLB hosts education summit

    MCLB hosts education summit

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:26 PM EDT2014-07-31 03:26:53 GMT
    Latreesa Perryman, MCLB School Liaison Latreesa Perryman, MCLB School Liaison
    Military families got to ask questions about the best education choices for their children .Superintendents and other officials from public, private, home school, and online institutions in Dougherty, Lee, and Worth Counties attended Wednesday night’s Military Child Education Summit at the Marine Corps Logistics Base.More >>
    Military families got to ask questions about the best education choices for their children .Superintendents and other officials from public, private, home school, and online institutions in Dougherty, Lee, and Worth Counties attended Wednesday night’s Military Child Education Summit at the Marine Corps Logistics Base.More >>

October 11, 2006

Albany-- It's getting harder for many parents to say their kids are healthy. The childhood obesity rate is rising rapidly. An Albany woman came up with a program to help change that. She'll soon take that message to a national audience.

15-year-old Antavious Powell is working hard, pushing towards a goal.

"I just want to lose weight," says Powell. It isn't easy.  Although he's only in the eighth grade, he weighs about 340 pounds and other kids can be cruel.

"They call me big and fat and stuff like that," says Powell. Antavious has developed his own defense mechanism while in school.

"I'm used to it. I just laugh with them," says Powell. But it's no laughing matter.  Those in the health field say childhood obesity has become a health crisis.

"In the last ten or fifteen years the obesity rate has tripled among middle school students and it's very much the same way here in Albany too," says School Registered Nurse Debbie Richardson.

That's part of the reason Pamela Jackson began the Youth Becoming Healthy Project.  She started the program in memory of her brother who died from obesity-related problems, something that started from his early childhood.  Jackson doesn't want other kids to face the same fate.

"I found that there were a lot of kids that were now having adult diabetes at early ages," says Jackson, "you have a large number of children that are as young as seven or eight years old that take high blood pressure medication."

To combat health problems early, children get active in fitness centers at Dougherty County middle schools. Soon, the program will get national exposure on a syndicated talk show.

"Hopefully this will help us get additional funding, additional sponsors, just have more people want to duplicate this in other areas," says Jackson. If all goes well, students in other states could soon feel what these Albany students feel.

"It makes me feel happy and proud that we have a program that lets kids come in and exercise daily," says 12-year-old Nairobi Payton.

Daily hard work already made a difference for many students including Antavious. He says, "I'm stronger and I can run longer than I used to run."

He says he still has a ways to go but this time next year he'll be using this momentum to dribble balls down the basketball court.   That'll be proof that the work paid off.

Right now, Youth Becoming Healthy helps about 150 students a year in four Dougherty County middle schools.  A fifth one will start soon at Merry Acres Middle School. Pamela Jackson will appear on the national talk show in the next couple of weeks. We can't say which show yet but it airs here on WALB.

feedback: news@walb.com?subject=ChildObesity/LK