With the rise of television and video games as replacements for physical activity, in many U.S. households, the elimination of recess in schools, the ready access to fast food and lack of access to healthy foods in many neighborhoods, it is not surprising that childhood obesity is fast becoming a major epidemic in society.
The observance of September National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month seeks to highlight the growing epidemic of childhood obesity. One in three children are currently overweight and at risk for chronic diseases such as: type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, which are health problems normally seen in adults.
Although, the statistics for childhood obesity seem dire — the good news is that it is preventable. But, it is important for us, as parents, to be diligent in our efforts to keep our children healthy.
How to keep kids healthy:
- Be an example — children are impressionable and learn from their parents behavior: eat healthy foods and stay active
- Encourage good eating habits – reduce unhealthy foods and replace with healthier alternatives
- Keep kids active – playing video games doesn’t count as a physical activity, although the thumbs get a good workout — LOL! Physical activity should be a daily routine; children naturally like to run and jump. Find an activity that your child enjoys: swimming, tennis, dancing, basketball, football, are just a few.
- Say No! – everything a child wants to eat isn’t necessarily good for them. Throwing a temper tantrum or excessive crying are not good enough reasons to allow a child to eat unhealthy foods.
- Get them involved – plan weekly menus and healthy food preparations together.
- Make healthy fun – get creative when preparing foods
More Information on Childhood Obesity:
- Healthfinder.gov – September National Childhood Obesity Month
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC) – Childhood Overweight and Obesity
- LetsMove.gov – Learn the Facts