Preschool kids get early lesson in nutrition

NORWALK - Nearly 70 preschoolers from the Cerritos College Child Development participated in a Chivas USA Parent and Me Soccer Clinic last week.Organized by Los Angeles Universal Preschool, the clinic emphasized to kids and their parents the importance of exercise. The event, which took place on the Cerritos College campus, brought the preschoolers out of their classrooms to a nearby field where they learned basic soccer skills from Chivas affiliated coaches. Laughter resonated as the children dribbled, ran and kicked the balls to the delight of many parents in attendance. "It's important to teach the kids the importance of health and wellness," said Alicia Mendoza, senior manager of Business Development for Chivas USA. "If we teach kids to eat better and exercise, they'll have a better life. Soccer is a natural fit." With obesity rates among children in Los Angeles County causing much concern, Celia C. Ayala, CEP of Los Angeles Universal Preschool, noted that the partnership with Chivas USA aimed to spread the message about the importance of exercise and healthful eating starting with children at a young age. "We're thrilled that because of this partnership, preschoolers learned more about new healthy living techniques," she said. "The event also encouraged families to role model healthy habits for their children, as well as eat healthful food, drink healthy beverages and start exercising." Hanna Parklee, the mother of participating preschooler Ryan who participated in the clinic, praised efforts to combat childhood obesity by stressing the importance of exercise and healthful eating. "It's very important," she explained. "Health and exercise is one of the most important things for these kids to learn at this age." California's childhood obesity rates remain dangerously high, threatening the long-term health of children throughout the state, according to a study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy study released in November, 2011. About 42 percent of children in Los Angeles County were obese or overweight in 2010, compared to 38 percent statewide, the study said.

********** Published: May 31, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 07