September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

When you were growing up, did you have an exercise routine?  You probably rode your bike everywhere and played with friends ‘til the street lights came on. Nowadays, it seems that kids play online more than outside. It’s a trend that is on the fast track to a health epidemic of obesity.
September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and we are doing our part to help educate parents on the dangers of overweight kids.
One in 3 children in the United States are overweight or obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
On the bright side, childhood obesity can be prevented and reversed.
Get outside

  • Take walks or ride bikes around the neighborhood. Make it part of your family’s daily routine.
  • Have a trail system near you? Pack a healthy picnic lunch and take a hike.
  • With plenty of parks in the area, you can play basketball or kick a soccer ball around.
  • Making exercise part of your kids’ lifestyle at an early age will increase the chances of them remaining active as an adult.

Turn off the screens

  • Limit time spent on computer, watching TV or playing video games to 2-hours a day or less.
  • Kids who watch more than 2-hours of TV per day are at a greater risk of poor school performance, social problems, obesity, and trouble sleeping.
  • Be an example for kids and limit your own screen time, too.

Eat and drink healthy

  • Make a list of healthy foods and limit your grocery shopping to what’s on the list.
  • Buy and serve more fruits and vegetables, and whole-grains.
  • Limit sugary soft drinks. Water is best, but smoothies are a good alternative to soft drinks and provide cold refreshment on a hot summer day.
  • Avoid buying unhealthy snack foods. Skip the chips and buy nuts, popcorn, fruits and yogurt as healthy choices.

Studies show that most children need multiple exposures (between 5 and 10 times) to try new foods. Making vegetables with different recipes can give kids more opportunities to experience new foods and hopefully find something healthy that they like! Involving your kids in meal planning, grocery shopping and preparation is also a great way to get them to eat healthy, too.
Sharing a family dinner is also proven to make the family bond stronger, and kids are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
Take time today to clean out your pantry and eliminate unhealthy snacks. Make a fresh grocery list and have a health meal tonight and follow dinner with walk around the neighborhood.
Share these tips with family and friends and together we can build a healthy community.