Kenan Fellows Program Logo and page header graphic

I’m On a Diet & Proud of It: Nutrition through Math & Science


In 2007, North Carolina had the fifth highest rate of overweight children in the nation. According to the Health Profile for North Carolinians: 2007 Update issued by the NCDHHS, of people who are ages 10–17, 16 percent are overweight, and another 15 percent are obese (meaning that 31 percent are overweight or obese), compared to 64 percent who are at a healthy weight. High rates of overweight can be attributed to physical inactivity and unhealthy eating habits among children in the state. Additionally the North Carolina Child Health Assessment and Monitoring Program, in 2006, reports that one-third of North Carolina parents surveyed (30.3 percent) admitted that their child typically consumes one serving or less of vegetables per day. On the other hand, one in three North Carolina parents (34.2 percent) reported in the NCDHHS health update that their child eats fast food two or more times per week.

These statistics are only the beginning. To jump start the fight against obesity, children in North Carolina must first be educated about food, nutrition, and making good choices. The truth is that North Carolina children today are exposed to an unbelievable variety of food and diet choices. We must teach them how to navigate these choices by beginning with the basic concepts of food and nutrition. Children can then move to application, demonstrating how these concepts apply to them and others. By starting early, and having children participate in memorable experiences, we hope that they may gain the knowledge and skills to become healthy, nutritionally-conscious consumers.