“The risk of childhood obesity has placed the health of an entire generation at risk.”
One in 5 children in the United States suffers from obesity. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults; type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, which is the leading cause of death within our population. The mental effect on children with obesity can stem from bullying and being teased more than their normal weight peers. They are also more likely to suffer from social isolation, depression, and lower self-esteem.
Many factors can have an impact on childhood obesity, including eating and physical activity behaviors, genetics, metabolism, family and home environment, and community and social factors. For some children and families, obesity may be influenced by too much time spent being inactive, lack of sleep, lack of places to go into the community to get physical activity, easy access to inexpensive, high calorie foods and sugary beverages vs affordable, healthier foods.
The good news is that childhood obesity can be prevented. In honor of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Sarah Fechter Fitness encourages your family to make healthy changes together.
Here are some tips to get you and your family started:
· We encourage families to make small changes, like keeping fresh fruit within reach or going on a family walk after dinner. Buy and serve more vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain foods.
· Get active outside! Walk around the neighborhood, go on a bike ride, or play basketball at the park.
· Limit screen time. Keep screen time (time spent on the computer, watching TV, or playing video games) to 2 hours or less a day.
· Make healthy meals and let them help you in the kitchen!
If you're apart of the Sarah Fechter Fitness community & looking to get your kids involved, we offer a year-round Youth Fitness program, where kids ages 13-18 can drop in to any class for $5.
While there is no simple solution, there are many ways communities can support children with their journey to good health. Taking small steps as a family can help your child stay at a healthy weight. If you are a teacher or educator, promote healthy eating and physical activity. Those in the health field can collaborate and implement childhood obesity programs.
As a parent and as a community, it starts with us. Working together, we all have a role in making healthier foods, beverages, and physical activity the easy choice for children and adolescents to help prevent childhood obesity. Becoming the example and not the statistic.