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Norwalk City Council Approves $21,000 to Fight Childhood Obesity

This map shows the incorporated areas in Los A...

This map shows the incorporated areas in Los Angeles County, California. Norwalk is highlighted in red. I created it in Inkscape using data from the Los Angeles County Website (Los Angeles County Incorporated Area and District Map (PDF). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Brian Hews

The Norwalk City Council has approved an agreement with the County of Los Angeles that targets a program that focuses on obesity in youngsters.

Norwalk, and several cities in the Southeast Los Angeles County area are now making “childhood obesity” as a major issue including in Downey and Hawaiian Gardens who have established dynamic new programs during the past two years.

On Tuesday, the Norwalk City Council voted to approve a contract in the amount of $21,000 with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to participate in a program that city officials claim will “established a goal to improve the nutrition and physical activity environment in child care settings and reduce obesity among preschool age children countywide.”

“The Los Angeles Reduce Obesity in Child Care Setting (LA ROCCS), is being offered to child care agencies in Los Angeles County,” said Veronica Garcia, Director of Social Services and Gabriela Regalado, Child Care Program Manager for the City of Norwalk.

The two staff members told Mayor Luigi Vernola and other members of the city council on Tuesday night that the LA ROCCS grant is “designed to provide outreach and educational materials to parents and to provide tools to child care providers to help educate the families they serve to help reduce Early Childhood Obesity throughout Los Angeles County.”

Garcia and Regalado noted in their staff report this week before the city council, “a grant was awarded to the Child Care Resource Center,  a sister agency to the City’s Child Development Program, to provide outreach services for Healthy Eating, Active Living Outreach and Training for Child Care Providers and Parents throughout Los Angeles County.”

“In order for the City of Norwalk Child Development Program to administer the program, a subcontractor agreement with CCRC is necessary,” Garcia and Regalado pointed out.

The program is a four year program and requires a commitment from the City, effective February 8, 2013 through June 30, 2016.

The total funding amount is $21,000, and the city can expect that the grant will allow for “outreach services to parents and child care providers in the Norwalk area.”

In Downey, city officials, including Mayor Mario Guerra has embarked on an aggressive community wide program that focuses on healthy eating, regular exercise as well as meal planning for the entire family.

In Hawaiian Gardens, city officials have targeted early school aged children in a program called “Activate Hawaiian Gardens.”

A study in 2012 by the LA County Department of Health claimed that childhood obesity rates in Norwalk and Hawaiian Gardens were registered as being some of the very highest throughout the county.

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