The American Cancer Society is awarding $250,000 in anti-obesity grants to help children learn to think healthy at a younger age. The society says one in three cancer deaths is related nutrition, exercise habits and obesity. Eighteen organizations statewide will share the money, which will be used for early-childhood programs to combat obesity.
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Diana Weyhenmeyer, a registered nurse at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, says anti-obesity programs are more important than ever. “One of the frightening things… you know, if we keep going the way we’re going, the generation behind me is not supposed to outlive me,” she says. “The obesity is that rampant that they won’t live as long as their parents.” The society says those who begin life as overweight children retain a heightened cancer risk, even if they lose the weight – which means children must never become overweight in the first place.