Can you see your kids battling the risks of obesity throughout childhood and later on? Certainly not! But the sad reality is that one in three American kids are overweight or obese. Being a responsible parent, you don’t want your kid to be that “one.”
Therefore, in addition to serving them healthy food, encourage them to do daily exercise. Yes, exercise which can be any physical activity, including running, skipping, jumping, cycling or simple walking.
Add exercise to their daily routine and help them grow into healthy adults with strong bones, muscles and flexibility while keeping the threat of obesity at bay. So, don’t delay! Start motivating your kids to exercise daily or take part in sporting activities at their school.
For your convenience, have a look at the infographic given here to learn the benefits of exercises for your kids along with the various types they can enjoy.
According to the American Heart Association, one in three American kids is overweight. Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared childhood obesity among the top health crises in the USA after drugs and smoking. Still other sources claim that our obesity rate has risen dramatically over the past decade. Save the Children found that the USA has failed to create a safe and healthy environment for kids, given the alarming obesity rate in the nation.
Just by looking around, you can easily spot obese children—maybe your child is one of them. Obese children are prone to major health risks, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, bone and joint problems, and even several types of cancer. In addition to risking health problems, overweight children are teased, bullied, and kept out of the team activities, leading to sadness, low self-esteem, inferiority complexes, and depression.
Since 2010, the month of September is dedicated to National Childhood Obesity Awareness. The aim is to spread the word by promoting healthy eating and the importance of physical activity all month long (and of course beyond). Offering guidance on the types of foods kids are eating and balancing their diet with enough physical activity expenditure is key to this childhood obesity fight. Energy balance is what it is all about!
So, we challenge you and your family to join the fight against childhood obesity during the month of September. Here are some ways your family can be involved if you choose to accept the challenge:
- Family Fitness Challenge – Set a physical activity goal for each member of your family. Whether it be 5 situps or 10 pushups a day, create a chart that holds everyone accountable. Let each family member select a reward (non-food!) ahead of time and the family can motivate and compete for top of the chart at the end of the month. A little friendly competition never hurt anyone!
- Food Taste Tests – Commit to introducing your kids to a new fruit or veggie each day or week of the month. Take them to the grocery store and let them pick them out. You never know which tasty fruit or veggie may jump to the top of their favorites list!
- Post-Dinner Family Outings – Incorporate a family walk or bike ride into your nightly routine, even if it’s just a quick 10-15 minutes. These short increments can add up over time and it is a great way to catch up with each other amidst our busy schedules.
- Weekend (Active)ities – Plan a fun family outing such as a hike or day at the park where you bring a healthy picnic and a soccer ball or football to play with. This is another great way to get in some bonding time while also being healthy!
- Fruit for Dessert? – Each night this month, instead of that ice cream for dessert, offer the kids fruit or some variation. Eventually their taste buds may opt for this sweet treat over the ice cream (we can hope, right?). Try this tasty berry smoothie recipe for a healthy dessert alternative.
- Turn off technology– Implement a nightly “no technology” rule for the month. In the evenings, put on some of the kids’ favorite tunes and have a dance party instead! We are sure that you can survive!
- Spread the Word – Share your ideas and find out what others are doing this month by using #ChildObesity across social media. Also, challenge another family to commit to a month of healthy eating and physical activity promotion!
Click here for more information, ideas or resources to promote National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.
Recently, articles have been circulating discussing the spike in childhood obesity during the summer months. Summertime doesn’t have to be an unhealthy time for kids. It’s important for parents and caregivers to be proactive and accountable for making sure kids are being offered healthy food options and providing times for exercise and physical activity fun.
Here are 6 ways to ensure healthier kids during the summer months:
- Enroll kids in daily activities – If this is a realistic option financially, get kids signed up for summer day camps or sports teams to provide them with plenty of physical activity opportunities.
- Engage in family exercise – To avoid the heat, schedule morning or evening physical activities together as a family – try a walk, a bike ride, or even enjoy the neighborhood swimming pool.
- Monitor amount of snacking – During the school day, it’s difficult to snack out of boredom, so try and determine if kids are snacking just because, or if they are genuinely hungry.
- Encourage healthy snacking – Eliminate or make junk food hard to find! Create a healthy snack drawer that is easily accessible to kids and cut up fresh fruits and veggies and store in the fridge in single serving containers.
- Limit screen time – This one is huge! Long summer days allow for more time spent on video games, watching television and of course using handheld devices. Set a daily time limit to make sure technology doesn’t take over your day (and your kids!).
- Promote good sleep habits – Getting enough sleep is so important for good health. This can prevent sickness and when refreshed and rested, one is more likely to make healthier choices when it comes to food and exercise.
Let’s all commit to focusing on these healthy ideas for the rest of the summer to get the kids off on the right foot once school starts!
Despite rates of obesity continuing to increase among some low-income children ages 2-5, new results from the first of its kind study who that obesity measures significantly improved among children ages 2-5 who participate in Head Start Center-based nutrition and healthy living programming, as compared to children not in the program. Funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, this program “shows much promise to reduce obesity rates of young children throughout our nation, using Head Start Centers as primary settings for this type of intervention.” says Dr. Danielle Hollar the study lead investigator. For more information, read the press release.
Thanks to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for making this project possible and for their ongoing support to help fight childhood obesity! Early intervention is definitely key!