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100,000 Calif. Students Work Toward Combating Obesity

More than 100,000 fourth- and fifth-grade students in  San Diego County and around Southern California are taking part in a campaign  to combat childhood obesity, it was announced today.

The school-based "Kid Healthy -- Steps to Healthy Living Campaign"  seeks to reinforce the importance of healthy eating and exercise for students  and parents in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and  Ventura counties.

The elementary school campaign, which runs through April 30, was started  by ABC7 and is supported by a coalition of local nonprofit volunteers, state  and county agencies and corporate sponsors.

According to a 2008 report published by Children Now, childhood obesity  has doubled nationally in the past three decades.

More than 3 million California children -- about a third of all children  statewide -- are considered overweight or obese, while only about 25 percent  of youngsters meet or exceed state physical fitness standards.

"There has been progress on this important public health issue," said  Jackie Teichmann, regional director for Kid Healthy. "But the truth is we're  far from reversing the trends."

"As these children age into adulthood, if obesity goes unchecked they  will experience chronic illness and death at a much earlier age than their  parents," she said. "And that's a real tragedy, especially when we have an  opportunity to do something about it -- right now."

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