Parks & Rec. uses grant money to help fight childhood obesity

POSTED: 05:14 PM MDT May 22, 2013    UPDATED: 07:36 PM MDT May 22, 2013 
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

Cities across Idaho received nearly $100,000 in grant money to fight obesity, thanks to the Blue Cross of Idaho.

The Parks and Recreation Department in Idaho Falls was awarded close to $24,000 from that grant.

City leaders said with that money, they're planning on promoting wellness among local kids.

"We know kids aren't outdoors as much as they used to be, compared to 20 years ago," said Chris Horsley, recreation supervisor. "So we want to get them back to parks."

Horsley said the grant money will create park programs to help get kids outside.

"If we provide them with some instructional games and activities at the park with kids from their neighborhood, then they'll create a social base to go back to the park without us being there," said Horsley.

Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in the U.S. have tripled and now, nearly one in three kids are considered overweight or obese.

But being active, is only half the battle.

"If you know you're going to have a crazy day, get a game plan together and have some healthy snack options available so you can just grab it and run," said Emily Cowles, a registered dietician.

"A healthy child is an outcome of a healthy environment. That's all that we're trying to do, is create a healthy environment so we can help the obesity trend turn the other direction."

Doctors recommend kids get at least one hour of physical activity every day.

Those programs start June 10th but in order to get involved, you'll have to register first.

To sign up, visit www.ifrec.org