ArkansasGives Day to aid fight against childhood obesity

The statistics related to childhood obesity are daunting.

A study by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control indicates that the percentage of children ages 6 to 11 who are obese jumped from 7 to 18 percent from 1980 to 2012. During the same period, the percentage of obese 12- to 19-year-olds grew from 5 to 20 percent.

A more recent study in HealthDay suggests that obese children suffer higher incidents of diabetes, high cholesterol and skeletal problems. Weight loss surgery is even recommended to save the lives of some of the most severely obese children, those with a Body Mass Index of more than 50 percent.

The percentage of obese Arkansas children climbed from 14 to 18 percent and now ranks at the top of the CDC study.

Conway Regional Health System has made reducing childhood obesity one of its priorities for improving the health of Faulkner County. The Women’s Council’s program committee, led by Sonja Keith and Lindsay Henderson, has decided to pursue the health system’s childhood obesity initiative.

As a result, Conway Regional Women’s Council which has begun programming to raise the awareness of childhood obesity among residents of Faulkner County, including a community screening of “The Weight of the Nation” – an HBO documentary on childhood obesity and expert panel discussion on Tuesday, March 17, at the hospital.  

“Obviously it is an issue that we, as parents, educators, healthcare providers and community leaders, have to address now. Even if our children don’t currently have an issue with weight gain, bad eating habits and lack of activity will catch up with them. Then, it will be much more difficult for them to change. Let’s start fostering that desire for more healthy choices in our children now,” said Conway Regional Women’s Council President Jennifer Hill.

ArkansasGives Day April 2

“The entire community is invited to join us in our efforts to combat childhood obesity on ArkansasGives Day,” said Hill. ArkansasGives Day is a one-time, 12-hour online giving event to be held on Thursday, April 2. On that day Arkansans are being encouraged to make donations to their favorite not-for-profit organizations by going to, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Organizations can earn matching dollars based on how much their supporters give. The Women’s Council plans to use these donations to provide education and outreach programs in the community.  

All donors will receive a tax receipt from the Arkansas Community Foundation, which will send a check to the organization of choice for the total amount. Donations must be made via credit cards, and the processing company will deduct a small fee.

The Conway Regional Women’s Council is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving health care in Faulkner County.