Many Santa Feans could stand to take a cooking class or two, according to Alex Valdez, the chief executive officer of Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center.

In a presentation last week to members of the Coordinated Community Response Council, Valdez said combating childhood obesity is becoming a “priority area” for the hospital. “You think it’s about nutrition and exercise,” Valdez said. “You come to find there are parents in our community that don’t know how to cook. They don’t know what nutrition means because they’re so used to the Burger Kings and the Big Macs of the world.”

Recent reports by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality show that New Mexico’s childhood obesity rate is roughly in line with the national average, with approximately one in three kids overweight or obese.