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Early in 2014, the Board of County Commissioners was contacted by two Columbine High School government teachers, Jeff Garkow and Zach Martin, who wanted to get teens more involved in local government – Jefferson County specifically.
After many discussions with the commissioners, the teachers selected the topic of teens spending too much of their free time on video games and other electronic devices and little time outdoors enjoying active lifestyles. They looked at the short and long term consequences of spending time indoors and not being physically active.
The project had great meaning for the county government as the Public Health department strives to bring awareness of the growing number of both adults and adolescents who suffer from obesity spurred by sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy diets. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 17 percent of children, aged two to 19, are obese. The purpose of the project is to find ways to break the cycle of inactivity and obesity and bring this number down. Encouraging kids and teens to be more active could carry into adulthood and prevent future health issues as adults. In the long-term, this could save the county, businesses and the individuals in health care expenses.
Along with Dr. Mark Johnson, director of Jefferson County Public Health, and Tom Hoby, director of Jeffco Parks, the Board spent a morning at the school discussing this growing issue with the government classes, and the project was initiated.
As a result, the students worked in teams to create public awareness campaigns to address the issue and engage other kids in healthy, active outdoor lifestyles. The most impressive awareness campaigns were chosen to present their work at a formal meeting of the Board of County Commissioners.
Those presentations, below, were given at the Board of County Commissioner hearing on May 13, 2014.
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