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First Lady Susan Lynch To Visit Keene State College's Early Sprouts Garden Harvest Party 9/27

KEENE, N.H., 10/2/07 - New Hampshire’s first lady Susan Lynch was presented with a basket of fresh produce gathered from Keene State College’s Early Sprouts program garden in the Child Development Center play yard on Thurs., Sept. 27.

Dr. Lynch, a pediatrician, works to draw attention to the problem of childhood obesity and to encourage healthy eating habits for New Hampshire’s children. The obesity epidemic is the fastest-growing public health concern in the United States. Some of the most dramatic increases have been observed among preschool-age children, where rates have more than doubled in the past 30 years. While a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is key to combating obesity, only one percent of preschool-age children meet all of the dietary recommendations established by the Food Guide Pyramid.

Dr. Karrie Kalich, assistant professor of health science at Keene State, has led the development of a 30-week preschool curriculum, Early Sprouts: Gardening and Nutrition Experiences for the Young Child, which is now used in area day care centers as well as the Keene State College Child Development Center. Kalich, working with KSC students; faculty from the KSC nutrition, education, math, sociology, and psychology departments; and the Head Start Centers run by Southwest Community Services; has implemented a program that addresses the significant community health problem of childhood obesity. The program engages preschool children and their families in a unique healthy- lifestyle learning program centered around a working vegetable garden.

The Early Sprouts program has received support from:

HNHfoundation, Monadnock Challenge Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, CMH Foundation, Hannaford Super Markets, Cheshire Health Foundation - Advocates for Healthy Youth, Monadnock United Way, MacMillin, Kiwanis Club of Keene, National Gardening Association, and Home Depot.

For more information, please contact Karrie Kalich, 603-358-2885 or

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Keene, New Hampshire 03435