Oregon State University Gets to the Source of the Main Issues in Rural, Food-Insecure Communities

In *All, Food Security by Ag is America

An Oregon State University study followed 144 families in three Oregon counties – 40 percent of which were determined to be at risk for food insecurity by OSU researchers. They learned that these families not only have inadequate quantities of quality food, but their children also aren’t provided enough opportunities to be active outside of the school day.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Heart Association recommend 60 minutes of physical activity each day, whereas the children in the study are getting less than 20 minutes of activity each day. Kathy Gunter, an OSU Extension Service physical activity specialist and lead author of the study believes that a good place to start is in the household.

“These kids are dependent on their families to provide those opportunities or encourage those opportunities but many of the parents aren’t able to provide those opportunities,” Gunter said. “We need to ask the right questions to understand why.”

Gunter will start asking questions by developing a program similar to Screen & Intervene, a program led by Oregon Childhood Hunger Coalition and OSU Extension. Through this initiative, health care providers ask their patients questions about the food situation at home. Gunter believes that incorporating questions about their physical activity levels could help them understand the issue better and speak to kids directly about it.

Diet and exercise go hand-in-hand, and it’s important for these kids to develop healthy habits at a young age. To learn more about OSU’s efforts in promoting healthier lifestyles for these families, read more here.

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