CHIPLEY, FL---It looks like fewer kids are swinging, climbing and sliding at the park.
"Statistics show and you can see it out there that our kids are very much over weight for their age and their size," said Washington County Chamber of Commerce Director Ted Everett.
Business owners and community leaders gathered Thursday to discuss a new program called "We Can," which stands for, Ways to Enhance Children's Activity and Nutrition.
"What were concentrating on through this program is the obesity problem," explained Everett.
Leaders say the growing trend in Washington County and across the U.S. is alarming.
"You don't want your child to be obese at age 10 or 12 statistics show if they're obese at that age by the time they're 25 they're still obese," added Everett.
One of their main strategies for community outreach will be stopping at schools to speak with parents.
"We want to start getting kids in shape earlier we want to talk to their parents we want to tell them hey it's not hard to change things," said Everett. It starts with diets, it starts with more activity get the kids out don't let them watch as much TV and play as much video games, go from candy to fruit."
Health officials say there are long-term risk factors .
"Heart disease, high blood pressure, which is a silent killer, we also look at diabetes," said NFCH RN Heather Shelby.
Parents with obese kids are encouraged to take the first step.
"Talk with that pediatrician or their doctor about some things and some simple steps they can make at home," said Shelby.
Research shows parents and caregivers are the primary influence.
We Can, is a science based national education program developed by the National Institutes of Health designed to help children ages 8 to 13.
If you'd like more information on the program go to the "4 More Info" tab.