One in 3 children in the United States is overweight or obese. Young people who fall into this demographic have a greater risk of diet-related diseases we have historically seen only in adult populations. These diseases include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Children who are obese have a higher chance of becoming obese adults, leading to lifelong physical and mental health problems. But when communities, schools, families, and health professionals work together, we can prevent and reverse childhood obesity.
September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, a time for everyone, whether you’re a parent or not, to raise awareness about obesity and obesity prevention. In the digital age, it’s easy to spread the word across media platforms like Twitter or add information to a newsletter or listserv.
It’s also easy to take small actions every day to start to turn the epidemic around. The Office of Disease Prevention and Promotion and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer ways to get started.
- Encourage families to make small changes.
- Serve children fruit and vegetables at meals and as snacks.
- Ensure access to water as a no-calorie alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages.
- Help children get the recommended amount of physical activity each day. Encourage 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.
- Motivate teachers and administrators to make schools healthier.
- Reach out to the district Food Service Director to learn what they are doing to make the school environment healthy.
- Ask doctors and nurses to be leaders in their communities by supporting programs to prevent childhood obesity.
- Learn how you can make a difference in your community by participating in this Healthy People eLearning Lesson
Written by Adriene Worthington, RD, LDN#children, #healthy, #nutrition, #obesity