CU professor inspires obesity grant for Clay County

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Elena Groholske

Campbellsville University

Campbellsville University's Dr. Jill Day's research has helped to secure Clay County a grant through Kosair's Children's Hospital in Louisville.

Day, a professor in Campbellsville University's Department of Human Performance, was born and reared in Clay County. She conducted a survey while attending college at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

She took 277 fourth- and fifth-graders and gave them pedometers to measure their activity. The result of the experiment was the acknowledgement that almost half, 48 percent, of the childhood population of Clay County was obese.

Day said, "Overweight or obese children have a greater risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and joint problems. I conducted a research study examining activity levels and the prevalence of childhood obesity in my hometown of Manchester, Ky. Clay County is a rural county located in eastern Kentucky and is one of the poorest, and, therefore, unhealthiest counties in the nation."

After releasing this information about childhood obesity, it was published by newspapers in the hopes of raising awareness about this growing problem. Clay County's school administrators were able to use the information to campaign for a grant from Kosair's Children's Hospital.

Day's research on obesity was published in The Washington Post last August.

The grant will be used to equip all Clay County students with a pedometer in order to track their steps and measure their exercise. By consciously seeing how much or how little a child does each day, this will encourage students to become healthier and more active.

For more information on Day's studies, contact her at jaday@campbellsville.edu or 789-5147.