Did you know that September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month? According to the Center for Disease Control, 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and teens between the ages of 2 and 19, are obese. This rate has tripled since 1980.
In today’s society, the healthy choice is not always the easy choice. We live in an environment that promotes fast food, increased portion sizes and inactivity, such as watching TV and playing video games. It is our job as adults to help our children make healthy lifestyle choices. Here are some ideas to help you promote a healthy lifestyle in your program.
Provide healthy snack and drink choices for the children in your program. Think water, rather than sugary drinks and fruits and veggies rather than chips. Learn more by reading about the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, which are new rules for school lunches and breakfasts that ensure a higher nutritional standard including more whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, and less fat and sodium. Click here link to view the article “USDA Announces New Breakfast and Lunch Guidelines.”
Limit media time in your program. Turn off the TV and other electronics. In a recent study, it was found that 8 to 18 year old adolescents spend an average of 7.5 hours a day using entertainment media, including, TV, computers, video games, cell phones and movies. Start promoting healthy habits early.
Get the children up and moving! Children should have at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily. While the health aspects of physical activity are apparent, adding more movement to your program can also help to promote and facilitate learning. Learn more by enrolling in our Moving and Grooving: Motor Skills and Movement class.
You can also discover move about the Let’s Move! initiative started by Michelle Obama. Let’s Move! is a comprehensive initiative, launched by the First Lady, dedicated to solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams. Combining comprehensive strategies with common sense, Let’s Move! is about putting children on the path to a healthy future during their earliest months and years. Giving parents helpful information and fostering environments that support healthy choices. Providing healthier foods in our schools. Ensuring that every family has access to healthy, affordable food. And, helping kids become more physically active. (Taken from the Let’s Move! website)
Helping to raise a healthier generation of children and reduce childhood obesity and its related health risks is everyone’s responsibility. Help teach the children in your program healthy living choices and make a lasting difference in their lives.