New Mexico health officials say data collected over the past three years shows there has been a significant increase in childhood obesity among kindergartners and third graders.
The state Department of Health says that in 2012, more than 14 percent of kindergartners and more than one-fifth of third graders in New Mexico were obese.
Health Secretary Retta Ward says part of the solution involves change. She says parents, teachers and community members need to keep encouraging children to eat more fruits and vegetables and to be active.
The department is using a federal grant to target prevention strategies across 10 counties and four tribal communities. Through the effort, some school districts have started buying locally grown fruits and vegetables for school meals. Some communities are also building gardens and biking and walking paths.