New youth cooking program helps tackle obesity in Douglas County

The 'Kids in the Kitchen' program is teaching Roseburg middle school students about healthy diets. (KPIC photo)

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- A few organizations have recently teamed up to tackle childhood obesity in Douglas County with a new cooking program in Roseburg.

Called 'Kids in the Kitchen,' the program is teaching Roseburg middle school students about healthy diets.

The classes are made possible by grant funding from Regence BlueCross BlueShield.

"It's a great partnership with Mercy Medical Center and Mercy Medical Foundation," says BlueCross BlueShield's Scott Burton. "We realize that Douglas County for years has been at the bottom of the county rankings in health. So we looked at the area and said, 'what can we do to try to establish some good habits for kids as they're growing up?'"

Students who sign up for the classes spend eight weeks learning hands-on healthy cooking habits.

"I think it's really fun and educational because you can learn how long you're supposed cook things, and you can find good ways to make lunch if you don't know what to make and you want something healthy," says JoLane Middle School student Amy Latham.

Throughout the program students learn cooking skills like measuring, cutting, and sanitary steps.

In the last class, they cook a whole meal.

"When you roll up your sleeves, when you put on the gloves, when you start chopping up the food, it becomes real," Burton says. "It becomes more real than just looking at a textbook."

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