Rose Hill to host forum promoting healthy families

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; A partnership between churches and an Alcorn State University program could lead to healthier families in Southwest Mississippi.

Kenneth Stanton, pastor at Rose Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Natchez, will host a program at his church at 6 p.m. Thursday, with church leaders throughout the area invited to attend and learn more about the partnership.

&uot;Obesity in the state of Mississippi and in Natchez is a big problem,&uot; said Stanton, who recently has worked with the Alcorn Cooperative Extension in its family nutrition program. &uot;Recent studies show that Mississippi is third in the nation in obesity, and the state capital Jackson is second as a city nationwide.&uot;

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Getting churches involved seemed a direct way to get information to many people, Stanton said. &uot;We want the pastors to know what we’re doing and to find out how they can participate in the program.&uot;

Dr. Dalton McAfee, administrator of the Alcorn Extension program, will lead the discussion, providing some background on what the Alcorn program already has started by working in schools, for example, and by working directly with state agencies such as the Health Department and Department of Human Services.

Stanton, who has worked recently with third- and fourth-graders in Wilkinson County schools, said the churches should be able to get entire families involved.

&uot;We find most obesity occurs in retired people and then in adolescents and teens,&uot; he said. &uot;The diets in our homes and even in our schools don’t stress the importance of watching fats.&uot;

Eating foods that are quick and easy has become a habit, even sometimes a necessity, in some homes, he said. &uot;Most parents work now, and there isn’t the time to prepare food; so families eat fast food.&uot;

Pastors from Adams, Wilkinson, Jefferson and Franklin counties have been invited to the Thursday meeting at Rose Hill.

&uot;We stress healthy moms and babies and learning about nutrition at its fullest,&uot; Stanton said. &uot;There possibly will be some topics on diabetes and high blood pressure and how to control them.&uot;

One program Stanton has liked teaching is &uot;Labels at a Glance,&uot; which teaches how to read labels on products, looking for sodium, fat, sugar and &uot;what we should eat in moderation.&uot;

Stanton said he and others who work with the family nutrition program are willing and eager to meet with individual families or with other community groups to provide information on healthier choices for diets.

&uot;The churches simply are a place we haven’t targeted, but we are ready to work with the community at large,&uot; he said.