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Dennis A. Hunt Fund for Health Journalism

Picture of Kate Long

Nationwide, schools with free breakfast for all report greater attention in class, fewer discipline problems, and fewer absent or tardy children.

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Last August, Kanawha County school cooks were abruptly ordered to quit serving prepackaged food and cook instead, from scratch, with fresh ingredients, five days a week. With fewer students eating, Kanawha County's food program is projected to make about $350,000 less than it did the previous year.

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Last summer, seven of West Virginia's poorest counties agreed to try cooking lunch and breakfast with fresh ingredients all year, five days a week. They would offer meals free to all students who want to eat.

Picture of Barbara Feder Ostrov

In the wake of the Oikos University mass shooting in California earlier this week, it's time to reconsider media coverage of mental health issues in the Asian-American community.

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West Virginia has the nation's worst statistics in 10 of 12 categories in the new 2011 Gallup Healthways ranking. More than one in three West Virginians -- 35.3 percent -- are now obese.

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Journalist Kate Long examines how some West Virginians are changing their lifestyles to drop pounds and reduce their risk of diabetes and other obesity-related diseases. West Virginia has one of the highest chronic disease rates in the nation.

Picture of Kate Long

Until the 1980s, few West Virginians are overweight in archival photos. In the 1960s and 1970s, during the poverty war, Americans got used to seeing pictures of bone-thin West Virginians on the evening news. Only 13.4 percent of Americans were obese then.

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In 2005, almost four out of 10 kids in the Kearney, Neb., schools were obese or overweight. Five years later, Kearney had chopped the obesity rate of their grade school kids by a stunning 13 percent.

Picture of Kate Long

How do you get kids to exercise at 7:30 in the morning? Hula hoops in the gym before school. Kate Long profiles one anti-obesity program at a West Virginia school.

Picture of Kate Long

One in four fifth-graders has high blood pressure and cholesterol. One in four eleven-year-olds is obese, a clear red flag for the future.

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