DATE:  February 26, 2007       
CONTACT: Robert Garcia 361.882.7837; or Steve Paschal 361.825-2336
Family Health Fair at Antonio E. Garcia Arts and Education Center to Stress Importance of Diet in Childhood Development

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The College of Education at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi will co-sponsor a Family Health Fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 3 at the Antonio E. Garcia Arts and Education Center at 2021 Agnes St.
The fair to encourage healthy, active family lifestyles will include demonstrations of nutritious recipes geared toward kids’ tastes, and health screenings geared toward adults. Families from the Early Childhood Development Center, Evans, Lamar, Menger, Oak Park, Prescott, Shaw, T.G. Allen, and Zavala elementary schools have been invited to participate. The event was conceived by Garcia Center Director Robert Garcia, County Commissioners Betty Jean Longoria and Peggy Banales and Corpus Christi Food Bank Director Bea Hanson as a way to educate parents about the importance of nutrition and exercise in their children’s lives.

In 2002, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) cited that 16 percent of children ages 6 to 11 were overweight, with the same percentage holding true for 12 to19 year olds. The most recent figures from the American Obesity Association reveal that around 16 percent of children in the United States are currently classed as obese.

According to Dr. Don Melrose, assistant professor of kinesiology and health at A&M-Corpus Christi, the problem is a combination of parents' poor eating habits that are passed onto children and a lack of exercise.

“It might sound cliché, but parents have to stop using TV and video games as a baby sitter,” Melrose said. “In the long run it’s an issue of calories in and calories out. If the number of calories being consumed are not being expended by physical activity health problems are inevitable.”

Melrose also stressed that diseases such as Type II diabetes are factors that can complicate matters for children. “If body weight is an issue, it can lead to orthopedic problems that make exercise difficult," he said." Obesity can also lead to self esteem issues that can cause depression.”

The Antonio E. Garcia Arts and Education is affiliated with Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Other event participants include Driscoll’s Children’s Hospital and the Coastal Bend Blood Center, as well as other health-related community agencies. 
Family Health Fair at Antonio E. Garcia Arts and Education Center to Stress Importance of Diet in Childhood Development