September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and with more than 23 million children and teenagers between the age of 2-19 overweight or obese, it’s clear to see why medical experts consider this an epidemic. Obesity has put nearly one third of America’s children at early risk for Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and even stroke. Our youth now face health problems that were once seen only by adults.
Childhood obesity is often influenced by many factors. Busy family lives, convenience or microwavable meals, and the ever-growing fast food industry are just a few that contribute to the problem. We all need to work together on the solutions!
Here are a few helpful tips:
- Encourage families to make small changes, like keeping fresh fruit within reach or going on a family walk after dinner.
- Work with teachers and administrators to make schools healthier. Encourage them to provide healthy food choices and daily physical activity for kids.
- Limit screen time to less than 2 hours per day and focus on heading outside to play or exercise. Suggest activities with friends which involve movement!
While a healthy diet and physical activity is important to everyone, it’s crucial for children as it directly contributes to their optimal growth and development. The rise of childhood obesity not only puts today’s youth at risk, but rather an entire generation. So make a difference for our youth today. Start spreading the word about strategies for preventing childhood obesity and encourage communities, organizations, families, and individuals to get involved. Child obesity IS a “curable disease”!
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