Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Pawtucket 04-17-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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PAWTUCKET EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | APRIL 17-23, 2019 PAWTUCKET 5 PAWTUCKET – School officials in the city say they're concerned about the results of a first-of-its-kind study showing Pawtucket tied for third in the state for the highest number of students deemed obese or over- weight. Pawtucket is tied with Providence, both at 43 percent, and the two are behind only Little Compton, at 56 percent, and Central Falls, at 48 per- cent, according to the newly released three-year study by Rhode Island Kids Count and various health part- ners. The 43 percent figure mirrors the average for the state's core cities. It is 8 percent higher than the statewide average of 35 percent. Children whose body mass index is in the 95th percentile for gender and age are considered to be obese, and children with a BMI between the 85th and 95th percentiles are considered to be overweight or at risk for obesity. According to the report released this month, 17 percent of Pawtucket students ages 2-17 are considered overweight, while another 26 percent are deemed obese. School Committee member Erin Dube, who serves as head of the dis- trict's wellness committee, said, "The obesity numbers are definitely con- cerning." As head of the subcommit- tee, she said she's even more happy now that leaders previously chose to limit sugary beverages in the schools, including flavored milk and juice, a "good first step" in correcting the problem. Dube said school officials will keep looking at school lunches, accepting even more responsibility because the schools serve students two meals each day. "We really need to look at what food is there," she said. Karin Wetherill, co-director of the Rhode Island Healthy Schools Coalition, has called the data "a call to action, for sure." She said Pawtucket and its wellness committee have "lots of good ideas and things going on that need support." What was so discouraging for her in the data, said Wetherill, is that this problem is preventable. More younger children are seeing issues being overweight, she said, and problems early in life can lead to impacts as an adult. According to the report, 26 percent of Rhode Island children ages 2-4 are overweight or obese, and 38 per- cent of children between ages 5-17 are overweight or obese. School officials are blaming a num- ber of factors, particularly children living a more sedentary lifestyle in front of screens and families not doing enough to eat and live well. Wetherill said school communities need to be looking at "the whole 100 percent," focusing even on students who are currently at healthy weights. Especially in a school setting, it's important to support learning and teaching on health and practice those behaviors, she said, and to work with families. Other Rhode Island communi- ties with high numbers for over- weight and obese students include Woonsocket, at 39 percent com- bined, Middletown, at 37 percent, East Providence, at 36 percent, Charlestown, at 36 percent, Newport, at 36 percent, North Providence, at 35 percent, Johnston, at 35 percent, and Narragansett, at 35 percent. The Rhode Island Kids Count data on obesity was based on a first- of-its-kind three-year study working with the Rhode Island Department of Health, Hassenfeld Child Health Innovation Institute, State Innovation Model and three health insurance plans to collect accurate data. Recommendations to come out of the study include: • Continuing to study and publicize the data on an annual basis. • Asking the General Assembly to consider legislative options allowing an "opt-out" for the study rather than an "opt-in." • And having health providers use the data to provide referrals and guidance during doctor visits, among others. Among Pawtucket students, study finds 43 percent obese or overweight By ETHAN SHOREY Valley Breeze Managing Editor ethan@valleybreeze.com Shea's 10th annual Fashion Show April 26 PAWTUCKET – Shea High School's 10th annual Fashion Show takes place on Friday, April 26, at 7 p.m. This year's theme, "Pretty as a Picture," will highlight four major artists, Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, Yayoi Kusama, and Kehinde Wiley. Models will showcase garments that celebrate these four famous artists. William Lopera, the show's creator and creative director, graduated from Shea in 2010. Proceeds from the show help pay for costs to repair the school's audi- torium. Doors open at 6 p.m. Shea High School is located at 485 East Ave. Tickets are $5 for students, $7 for general admission and $10 for reserved seating. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at https://sheafashionshow.yapsody. com . Businesses interested in sponsoring or purchasing an ad in the program can contact Phyllis McHale, faculty director, at mchalep@psdri.net .

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