NORTHWEST ARKANSAS & RIVER VALLEY (KFSM) -- A local grocery store is trying to offset childhood obesity by offering free healthy food choices to kids.
All Harp's stores in the River Valley and in Northwest Arkansas are trying to change kids' eating habits by getting them to grab fruit instead of junk food. Harp's stores will fill baskets with fruit and put them in the produce section for children to eat while their parents shop.
The fruit, including bananas, apples and oranges, will be washed and ready to eat.
Kids of any age are welcome to grab as they go and walk around the store.
In addition to providing a good snack, these freebies will help parents know what kind of fruit their children like before they buy it. If kids like the fruit, parents can keep it in their household for them to eat rather than the kids grabbing for the junk food.
This program also helps families with their budget so they won't be buying food that their children don't want or may not like. Store managers said this is a small investment for them, and the customer's experience is more important.
"Kids are always interested in something that's free, and that's why it's here." said store manager Louis Schluterman. He added, "It's something that will help them and will help everybody."
In Arkansas, more than 14 percent of children ages 2 through 17 are obese. Harp's will continue doing this program to help children follow a healthy lifestyle.
The Harp's stores in Oklahoma and Missouri will also be doing this program.