Try This Conference Promotes Health in West Virginia

- BUCKHANNON, W.Va. - More than 20 organizations in West Virginia got together for the first “Try This” conference.

The conference launched a statewide physical activity network, and got more than 350 people to brainstorm a statewide campaign for healthy cooking.

"It's got to start locally, I mean, community by community, project by project, that’s getting the kids in your schools a little more physically active and its making healthy foods more accessible, and that’s something you can do right now if your own back yard," said Stephen Smith, Director of the Healthy Kids and Families Coalition.

This comes after studies show one in four 11-year-olds in West Virginia have high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol, so communities are now looking to change that.

"West Virginia’s the top three in everything, you name it, diabetes, physical inactivity, childhood obesity, we're top three, I mean, in everything. So we want to get off of the top three list," said Jamie Jeffrey, M.D., Director of Keys for Healthy Kids.

And the conference, sponsored by different public and private organizations, like the Office of Child Nutrition and the Bureau for Public Health, saw community teams from 44 countries.

"I think there's a lot of things being done, but of course there's always more. There's a lot of things that the schools are doing, we have a wellness policy in Berkeley County, and a good system within the schools, and it just comes down to each school, each family, what they're doing, what they're taking in," said Dana Dejarnett, of Berkeley Medical Center.

Those community teams will be eligible to apply for more than $50,000 in mini-grants for healthy local projects.

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