National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

This is a great time to create opportunities for kids to eat healthier and get more active! This month also provides a chance to learn more about this serious health epidemic. 

Did you know that 1 in 5 children in the United States are obese? Children with obesity are at a higher risk for having chronic health conditions and diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many types of cancers. The good news is that childhood obesity can be prevented. In fact, there are many things parents can do to help their children achieve a healthy weight and maintain it. Keep reading to ways you can take action in order to promote healthy growth in children and prevent obesity.

Provide nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables 

Children need balanced meals that include all of the food groups, especially fruits and veggies. Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber. Consuming them on a daily basis has many benefits. Doing so promotes good health, protects against disease, ensures a child’s growth and development, and aids in the proper function of the digestive system. Continue to offer your child a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. 

Help children partake in at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily 

It is recommended that kids participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity. Although children and adolescents are usually more active than adults, most do not meet the recommended guidelines for daily physical activity. It is important to take time as a family to be active. This not only provides a great example for your children, but also helps the adults get in much-needed activity as well.

Make sure drinking water is readily available 

Staying well hydrated is essential at all stages of life. Water should be the primary beverage of choice and should be consumed daily. At least 8 glasses a day is ideal. Children must avoid sugar-rich drinks such as processed juices or soft drinks. 

Limit screen time to 2 hours per day

Kids who spend a lot of time watching TV, playing video games, on the computer, cell phone or tablet are less physically active. They are more likely to consume unhealthy products such as soft drinks and foods high in added sugars and fats, and also tend to overeat compulsively and quickly. Replace screen time with physical activity or other activities that use creativity and imagination.

Help children establish healthy bedtime routines 

Children need adults to regulate certain environmental conditions. This is especially important with the nightly routine performed before bed. Getting the required hours of sleep is essential for their physical, emotional and social development. When children sleep properly, not only are they more well-rested, but they also have more energy. Studies show that children who receive the appropriate amount of hours have a lower risk of suffering from obesity.

Be a role model

Children learn by example and will often pick up the behavior of the adults in their life. Practicing healthy habits together as a family is a great way to support each other and set the stage for success into adulthood. If you practice healthy habits, your child is more inclined to practice them as well. 

Let’s keep our children happy and healthy and work together towards #ZeroChildhoodObesity.