September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

By DeDe Hausman

In 2010 the American College of Sports Medicine, along with other prominent health-organizations, including the NAACP, the American Society for Nutrition, the Cleveland Clinic, and HealthCorps, began waging a battle against childhood obesity by declaring September as NATIONAL CHILDHOOD OBESITY AWARENESS MONTH.  And to add more credence to that, on September 1, 2010, President Obama issued a PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATION declaring SEPTEMBER as NATIONAL CHILDHOOD OBESITY AWARENESS MONTH.

Why do we need a month to be devoted to this issue?!!!  Over the past 30 plus years childhood obesity has become a national epidemic (according to the Center for Disease Control, the CDC) and if we don’t help our kids and grandkids to learn healthy habits when they are young, they can face the risk of developing many adult diseases such as type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, heart disease and other adult-onset diseases at young ages.

The statistics are scary: according to the American College of Sports Medicine over 23 MILLION KIDS, ages 2 TO 19, are considered overweight or obeseThe CDC  estimates that ONE THIRD of children born after 2000 face the risk of developing diabetes and all the complications that can arise due to that disease.

OK—so what can we do to help our kids?!!!

  • National Dairy Council and the NFL have produced a school wellness program, Fuel Up to Play 60,which encourages healthy eating and getting 60 minutes of physical activity daily.  Have your kids tell you what they have learned at school and incorporate those healthy foods and habits at home.
  • Encourage them to become active!!!  Help them find physical activities that they enjoy doing, such as biking, roller skating, soccer, and so forth.  Plan activities such as taking family walks after dinner or biking or roller blading together.   Get off the couch, turn off the computer and TV and GET PHYSICAL!  If you enjoy it so will your kids!!!
  • Check out MyPlate.gov.  Strive to make HALF your plate fruits and veggies and the other HALF grains (preferable WHOLE grains—read food labels) and proteins (meats, nuts, beans).  DAIRY is depicted as a glass of milk and try to make your dairy products (milk, cheese and yogurt) be fat-free or reduced fat (1%).   NOTE: MyPlate goes hand-in-hand with MyPyramid.
  • SET A GOOD EXAMPLE!!!  If you have an overweight/obese issue, you need to decide to become healthy too.   Watch your portion sizes—forget super-sizing.  Go to MyPlate.gov for lots of healthy tips regarding healthy eating and start with small changes.  Eat foods from all FIVE food groups and cut back on foods with lots of calories but few nutrients.  Give up sweets?!!!!  NO!!!  Just eat non-nutritious foods in moderation!!!!  And everyone should be drinking more water and drinking less sugary beverages.

 

Let’s all work together to help our young people want to be healthy NOW so they can be healthy adults, not overweight or obese as many grown-ups are today.

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