- There are over 17,000 children in Suffolk age 18 and under. Of these children:
- About 18.6% (3,243 children) live below the poverty line (U.S. Census data, 2000);
- About 28.5% (4,969 children) live in high poverty neighborhoods;
- At least 25% (4,250 children) are deemed obese (estimated from WIC historical data);
- Between 16% and 18% of the children ages 2-5 years enrolled in federal-funded WIC Program are obese (WIC historical data).
- Childhood obesity takes emotional, physical, and economic tolls on the children and their families.
- It also takes social and economic tolls on the community, and increases the burden of healthcare costs due to many factors, including complications and treatment of diabetes, hypertension and related chronic diseases.
Healthy Suffolk's Garden Coordinator
Shelley’s love of gardening began in the 1960s when her Grandfather first gave her a handful of radish seeds – the most dependable of all vegetable seeds.
Her passion for growing things persists to this day. Working as a full time farmer with her family at Cotton Plains Farm in the Chuckatuck area of Suffolk, Shelley brings experiences ranging from an Agriculture education at Virginia Tech, 20 years of row crop farming, 10 years of commercial vegetable production, and a lifetime of backyard gardening to the new Garden Coordinator position with the Healthy Suffolk.