Purple Asparagus, an organization that’s teaching kids to eat in ways that are healthier for the body and the planet, is the subject of my latest USA Character Approved Blog post.
The numbers on obesity in America are staggering. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a third of us are considered not just overweight, but obese. And while obesity rates have doubled for adults from 1980 to 2008, they’ve tripled for children. A frightening 17 percent of children aged 2 to 19 are now classified as obese.
Overweight kids tend to become overweight or obese adults, and that puts them at risk for associated adult health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and several kinds of cancer. In fact, some overweight and obese children are starting to show signs of cardiovascular problems formerly only seen in adults. Purple Asparagus is one of a number of organizations working to get kids—and communities—eating healthier.
Founded by Melissa Graham, Chicago-based Purple Asparagus goes into classrooms, community organizations and farmers markets with a message of making healthier food choices. Graham uses hands-on fun experiences to encourage kids and parents to incorporate more fruits, vegetables and whole grains into their diets—and fewer processed foods. Her focus isn’t solely on reducing obesity; she believes in eating in ways that are healthier for the planet too. Part of Purple Asparagus’s mantra includes eating “close to the ground” and forging a meaningful connection with local farmers and producers to foster respect for the earth and the community.
Graham has gained some well-deserved attention for her group’s efforts, including an invitation to the White House last year. To find out more about Purple Asparagus—and see a classroom visit video—check out my latest post on the USA Character Approved Blog.