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Central Coast Residents Urged to Park Farther, Win Prizes

Congressman Sam Farr to paint first "Park Farther" space as part of Salinas Valley Memorial's LiVe program, targeting childhood obesity and diabetes

WHAT: Park Farther Kick Off Event

WHEN: Tuesday, September 7, 2010, 10:00 A.M.

WHERE: Star Market, 1275 South Main Street, Salinas, CA

BACKGROUND: Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System will kick off the Park Farther project, as a part of its LiVe public service campaign on Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 10:00am. Launched earlier this year, LiVe encourages children on the Central Coast to be more active, make better food choices and make healthy living a family affair. An exciting component of this campaign, Park Farther invites kids and their families to get more physical activity by parking farther from their destination, in a designated "Park Farther" stall. The stall will be painted with the LiVe logo and the words "Park here to walk farther and live healthier."

The goal of the Park Farther project is to promote activity and increase awareness that a healthy lifestyle can be achieved through a series of small changes in your routine, like parking just a little farther away. People who park in these specially marked spaces will be eligible to win prizes if they are spotted by the prize patrol that will randomly visit Park Farther locations.

The first Park Farther stall will be painted in the Star Market parking lot, on the corner of Main and Blanco Road in Salinas. Congressman Sam Farr will join Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System and Star Market in ceremoniously painting the first stall to kick off this project. Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System will be partnering with businesses throughout the county that have parking lots with 100 or more stalls, and painting this slogan on the most remote spots.

Childhood obesity is a serious epidemic facing California and the entire nation.
· Studies show that teenagers today are three times as likely to be obese as those in the 1980's.
· One third of all children are overweight or obese.
· In 2009, only 38% of high school freshmen met six fitness criteria established by the state of California. Monterey County freshmen fared even worse—only 33% met the fitness test.
· California has the 28th highest percent of obese and overweight children.
· Obesity can affect virtually every organ system in a child's body.
· Obesity complications are driving up the cost of healthcare. In 2000 the direct medical cost of obesity for children and adults in the United States was estimated to be $61 billion. By 2018 the cost of obesity-related conditions could double to nearly 21% of all direct healthcare expenditures.

"This may be the most critical health issue for this generation," said Nathan Olivas, President of the Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System Board of Directors. "If this issue isn't addressed, the crisis will cause even more serious health impacts in the future."

Statistically, overweight children have a 70-80% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults. Obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States and can be linked to unhealthy food choices, too little activity and unhealthy lifestyle behaviors. Addressing these issues can help avoid costly and long-term medical interventions.

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