Parents have to know that what they do, say and serve at home makes a difference in their child's health and ability to succeed, she said.
"It is not just what we're eating, but it is portion sizes of what were eating," she said.
Following the announcement, multi-denominational faith leaders from the state met for a roundtable discussion about the ways they can work with schools to improve children's nutrition and increase physical activity.
The initiative encourages faith leaders to take part in wellness councils that develop and implement community-based wellness policies, ensure that children attending church-run child-care programs eat healthy foods, and creates summer feeding sites that provide nutritious meals to at-risk youth.
Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball of the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church said the first step to involve faith communities in fighting obesity is to educate church members.
"It's going to first take educating our faith communities that there's a real need that they can be a part of making a difference," Ball said. "In my experience, people want to be involved where they can make a difference.
"This offers a perfect opportunity for people who are passionate about the children in their communities, passionate about safety and health to really make relationship with the local schools in ways that best help the local schools and their families," she said.
The funding for outreach, organization and technical assistance for the initiative comes from a $72,000 ARC grant that's matched with $25,000 from Save the Children, Hysell said.
Other partners include the Faith United to End Childhood Obesity, the West Virginia Department of Education, the state Bureau for Public Health and the United Methodist Appalachian Ministry.
Reach Lori Kersey at lori.ker...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.