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Friday, July 01, 2022

UF group hopes to spread obesity awareness to children, parents

A UF research team will work with about 200 parents and children during a childhood obesity awareness and intervention workshop Thursday.

Sponsored by UF’s Health Disparities Research and Intervention Program, the workshop is intended for families in the Head Start/Volunteer Pre-Kindergarten program within Alachua County Public Schools, said Tya M. Arthur, a postdoctoral research associate.

The workshop is a shortened version of the Health-Smart Behavior Program created by Carolyn M. Tucker, director of UF’s Health Disparities Research and Intervention Program.

Because September is National Childhood Obesity Month, the program hopes to raise awareness for the severity of the problem and to decrease the “obesity disparity” among communities, including the ethnic-minority, socio-economically disadvantaged and medically underserved, Arthur said.

Thursday’s event will include physical activities for the kids and joint goal-setting between the parent and child. Facilitators will show part of the Family Health Self-Empowerment DVD. During that time, parents can explain barriers and offer real-life solutions.

“People are the experts,” Arthur said.

About 50 undergraduate and six graduate students are a part of the research team facilitating the discussions and activities.

Tasia Smith, a graduate student in counseling psychology and a graduate director for the program, will be one of the individuals assisting with the workshop.

“Children can’t do it alone,” Smith said. “It’s really about creating a family change.”

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