By Terry Orr
Obesity in America has reached a catastrophic level. Almost every aspect of our lives is threatened. The first step toward ending the damage is learning how to fight back.
September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and recently HBO broadcasted a wonderful series of four episodes regarding Obesity in America called “The Weight of the Nation and the link is listed below. They are: 1) Consequences; 2) Choices; 3) Children in Crisis; and 4) Challenges. It is my hope that everyone who reads this post will take time to view these highly informative and solid understanding if the epidemic.
Childhood Obesity Facts (from CDC)
- Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years.
- The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 20% in 2008. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.
- In 2008, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.
- Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors. Obesity is defined as having excess body fat.
- Overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance”—too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed—and are affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors.
The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is a problem.
It is going to take the entire village working together to be successful!
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation offers five first steps parents can take to cultivate a healthier lifestyle for their family.
- Be a Healthy Role Model
- Make Healthy Schools the Norm
- Ask the Family Doctor Key Questions
- Instill Healthy Values in Kids
- Make a Commitment to Health
How to Make a Difference (from Volunteer Guide):
- Don't reward children with food. Candy and snacks as a reward encourage bad habits. Find other ways to celebrate good behavior.
- Practice what you preach. If you're practicing healthy habits, it's a lot easier to convince children to do the same. Incorporate healthy activities into the time you spend with children. Take walks, ride bikes, go swimming, garden or just play hide-and-seek outside. Everyone will benefit from the exercise and the time together.
- Limit TV, video game, and computer time.
- Be an advocate for healthier children. Insist on good food choices at school cafeterias and vending machines.
- Bring kid-friendly, healthy snacks to classroom parties and other school events.
- Get kids to be active at your child’s next birthday party by bowling, roller skating, or playing picnic games.
- Encourage school administrators to join the Healthier US Schools Challenge. This nationwide award program, created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, challenges schools to promote good nutrition and physical activity. Schools that are doing the very best work are recognized, and high-achieving schools even receive monetary incentives.
- Sign the national petition calling for an end to childhood obesity discrimination and bullying. Forward the link to five friends to encourage them to sign too.
Let us all pitch in to help our young people and those of us as adults to also take the necessary actions to set the example for them.
References and Links: