Brandon Phillips visits Florence kids to talk childhood obesity - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Brandon Phillips makes a play against childhood obesity

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FLORENCE, KY (FOX19) -

Some Northern Kentucky elementary students got a lesson about nutrition and fitness today.

That important message was delivered by Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips to students at Collins Elementary in Florence. 

Kentucky has one of the highest childhood obesity rates in the nation and that can lead to a myriad of health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure and depression, but Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips says he wants these kids to learn how to stay healthy. "I play basketball and football and one of my favorites right now is bowling, I love to go bowling," he said. 

The Reds second baseman also took questions from the audience, such as if he liked to see himself on the jumbotron. "Honestly I love it, you know, I love seeing myself on TV and on the big screen. I do....I mean every time I look up there it's like 'wow, momma I did it'."

Phillips says he did it through exercise and healthy eating habits, habits he says are important for kids to learn. "The message I was trying to give them is stay active, have fun while you're young and eat right and enjoy life," said Phillips. 

Phillips says life is a lot more enjoyable with proper nutrition. "It's all about how people eat. A lot of people don't go out there and be active like they used to. Like back in the day people used to be outside all the time now everybody's in the house playing video games and always on the Internet so its just a new generation," he said. 

In the last two generations, childhood obesity rates across the nation have tripled. Kentucky has the highest rate at 31.5 percent. Indiana isn't far behind at 29.5 percent and Ohio comes in at 28.8 percent.  Washington DC boasts the lowest childhood obesity rate at 19.7 percent.

Phillips says athletes like himself can set a good example. "I love kids that's what it's all about. It's all about giving back," said Phillips. 

Some 200 schools in the greater Cincinnati area are participating in this year's fitness challenge and the top ten schools will receive packets of valuable school supplies.

In addition to exercise and healthy eating habits, the American Heart Association recommends kids get a proper amount of sleep, limit the amount of soda they drink and avoid large portions of food.

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