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September Is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

By: Rebecca Bennett, Clinical Dietician at MISH Hospital and Clinics' Kansas Institute of Medicine

 

President Obama originally declared September National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month in 2010. In 2016, the tradition continues and allows for learning about the problem and ways to prevent childhood obesityand address obesity in children. According to to the CDC, about 1 in 5 children are obese and certain groups of children are more affected than others. Childhood obesity is a major problem. 

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) says:

  • Children who have obesity are more likely to have obesity as adults. This can lead to lifelong physical and mental health problems, including diabetes and increased risk of certain cancers.
  • Children who have obesity face more bullying and stigma.
  • Childhood obesity is influenced by many factors. For some children and families, factors include too much time spent in sedentary activities such as television viewing; a lack of bedtime routine leading to too little sleep; a lack of community places to get adequate physical activity; easy access to inexpensive, high calorie snacks and beverages; and/or a lack of access to affordable, healthier foods.

How do you help your children? According to the CDC:

  • To help ensure that children have a healthy weight, energy balance is important. To achieve this balance, parents can make sure children get adequate sleep, follow recommendations on daily screen time, take part in regular, physical activity, and eat the right amount of calories.
  • Parents can substitute higher nutrient, lower calorie foods such as fruit and vegetables in place of foods with higher-calorie ingredients, such as added sugars and solid fats.
  • Parents can serve children fruit and vegetables at meals and as snacks.
  • Parents can ensure access to water as a no-calorie alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Parents can help children get the recommended amount of physical activity each day by encouraging them to participate in activities that are age-appropriate and enjoyable.

Check out the CDC’s website on National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month here: http://www.cdc.gov/features/childhoodobesity/