The childhood obesity rate is improving in some states but that's not the case in South Carolina. At the same time new statistics show, obesity in adults in the Palmetto State is holding steady and still one of the highest in the nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control, at least 30% of adults in South Carolina are obese, behind Louisiana and Mississippi, where the rate is 35%.
"This is serious. It's time to start making the right choices. But also a lot of time people don't start thinking about it until it's almost too late until they've already had diabetes. Or they've already had that heart attack and then that's when they start to make the right choices." explained Kelly Snow, a Dietitian at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center.
To help bring the obesity numbers down Kristi Falk, with The Wellness Council for South Carolina has made it her mission to reach children.
The program Green S.P.A.R.K., which meets weekly, is in its third year.
She educates students on the benefits of healthy eating and they even grow their own food.
"One of the rules we have in class is no sugar on the day of class and I can always tell when they've had a little bit because they're extremely rambunctious," Falk said with a laugh. "I always bring in healthy snacks. I bring in a veggie tray, fresh fruit, cheese and they eat everything. They don't have any issues eating fresh raw vegetables."
Falk is reaching out to children in hopes their parents will adopt those healthy habits too.
"The number of children with type II diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, it shouldn't be that way," said Falk.
"As you get older it's very hard to make those nutritional changes to your diet because you've been eating the same way for so long. So if parents can start with children at a very young age then they grow up that way," added Snow.
Snow also suggests three things people can do to improve their health: increase physical activity, cut back on sugar, and avoid saturated fats.
"Just say one thing. I'm not gonna drink Coke anymore and people will lose ten pounds in a week just from cutting back on sodas. When people go without sugar the weight drops real quick," said Snow.