In the United States today, approximately 1 in 5 children (17%) has obesity and certain groups of children are more affected than others. National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month provides an opportunity for learning about ways to prevent and address this serious health concern in our children.
As stated on the CDC’s website:
Childhood obesity is a major public health problem.
• Children who have obesity are more likely to have obesity as adults. This can lead to lifelong physical and mental health problems, including diabetes and increased risk of certain cancers.
• Children who have obesity face more bullying and stigma.
• Childhood obesity is influenced by many factors. For some children and families factors include too much time spent in sedentary activities such as television viewing; a lack of bedtime routine leading to too little sleep; a lack of community places to get adequate physical activity; easy access to inexpensive, high calorie snacks and beverages; and/or a lack of access to affordable, healthier foods.
There are ways parents can help prevent obesity and support healthy growth in children.
• To help ensure that children have a healthy weight, energy balance is important. To achieve this balance, parents can make sure children get adequate sleep, follow recommendations on daily screen time, take part in regular physical activity, and eat the right amount of calories.
• Parents can substitute higher nutrient, lower calorie foods such as fruit and vegetables in place of foods with higher-calorie ingredients, such as added sugars and solid fats.
• Parents can serve children fruit and vegetables at meals and as snacks.
• Parents can ensure access to water as a no-calorie alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages.
• Parents can help children get the recommended amount of physical activity each day by encouraging them to participate in activities that are age-appropriate and enjoyable. There are a variety of age appropriate aerobic, muscle and bone-strengthening activities that kids can do.
Working together, states, communities, schools, child care providers, and parents can help make healthier food, beverages, and physical activity the easy choice for children and adolescents to help prevent childhood obesity.
Please take a minute to peruse the CDC’s article and the other materials they have provided related to childhood obesity … we need to help our children now in order for them to be healthy adults in their future!