How schools are fighting back against obesity in Mississippi

October 13, 2018, Daily Journal, Dillon Mullan- Molly Massey eats cucumbers with her hands, while classmate Kallin Sudduth digs at his broccoli with a fork. At the other end of the lunch table, Christian Fair has a bowl full of carrots. As second-graders passed through the lunch line at Joyner Elementary on a Thursday in early October, 37 of the first 59 students chose to take vegetables from the salad bar. “I like to be healthy,” Fair said. “I go to the salad bar because I want to be healthy and strong.” With salad bars and vegetable gardens, the Tupelo Public School District exposes its pre-K and elementary students to healthy food sources and eating habits. Yet even as the district fights back with education and farming experience, obesity in Mississippi is a public health crisis. Across the state, poor examples set by adults and entrenched advertising campaigns promote cases of childhood obesity that set the youth on a path toward life-threatening chronic diseases.

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