Video: Fighting childhood obesity

By Correspondent
NBC News
updated 9/13/2006 7:34:35 PM ET 2006-09-13T23:34:35

For most kids, the choice is easy, but for parents like Susan Sandridge, what her children eat is a daily battle. And on the front line, her daughter Frances — 7 years old, 88 pounds and, her doctor says, obese.

Her 10-year-old sister Samantha weighs 97 pounds. They're among the nation's 12 million overweight children.

"I'm approaching it, fighting all the way," Sandridge says. But in a fast-food world, she says parents need help.

It's a call many schools are responding to, and not just in the cafeteria. In some, the gymnasium now looks like a health club.

There are treadmills and weight machines and bikes and climbing walls replacing dodge ball — teaching fitness in a high-tech way kids understand.

"What you're seeing is a revolutionary change in the delivery of physical education," says Phil Lawler, academy director of P.E. For Life.

But only 30 percent of the nation's schools have adopted what's called the new P.E. Lower-income children with higher obesity rates are least likely to have access.

"We can't afford not to do it," Lawler says.

But even with help, the first battle in the obesity war will always be fought at home, with parents like Tamar Mitchell arming her children with information.

"You make very poor choices," she says. "Your favorite things are pop and fast food."

"I'm really trying to teach them, when you're full, stop," she says.

Parents seeking help in the battle of the bulge, so their children won't end up casualties.

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