Childhood obesity has shown to be a major cause for concern in the United States over the past couple of decades. High sugar, high fat, processed and low nutrient foods can cause health problems that were once only seen in adults; type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease are now seen in one third of our nations youth. Public health officials, schools, health care providers and many others are working diligently to inform and educate the public about preventing and reversing this issue that packs many devastating health effects. In continued effort to combat the overwhelming concern of childhood obesity, President Obama signed a proclamation declaring September 2012 National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.
Avoiding this issue with your own children and the children in your community is achievable; you can reap the benefits too!
- Get active outside – plan a regular play date in the backyard with the neighbor kids after school or dinner. You and your neighbors can rotate hosting.
- Encourage your kids to walk or bike to school – you can even walk with them! If you live far away from school, drop them off a few blocks early and let them walk the rest of the way. You will save time by avoiding getting stuck in the parking lot too!
- Limit screen time – like T.V., computer, and video games to less than 2 hours per day.
- Make healthy meals – and let your kids help! Prepare and serve more vegetables, fruits, and whole grain foods. Store these foods in the pantry and refrigerator on a shelf that is eye level for your kids, they will be more likely to grab it instead of a sugary snack that is on the top shelf!
In Iowa, we too are teaming up and working hard to educate and encourage healthy lifestyle behaviors for our youth. Live Healthy Iowa Kids was created in 2004 as a program of the Iowa Sports Foundation. Live Healthy Iowa Kids’ youth initiatives are free programs encouraging Iowa’s youth to be more active and learn about healthy food choices in a positive, fun way. Since the program began, Live Healthy Iowa Kids has reached more than 500,000 youth through their participation in Live Healthy Iowa Kids/Governor’s Challenge, Go the Distance Day and Fall Fitness Day.
This year, Fall Fitness Day will be held on Oct. 3 and schools across the state are planning to get moving! Fall Fitness Day is a free one-day event in which students participate in 30 minutes of continued physical activity. All schools reporting 100% participation will be eligible to win monetary awards! For more information visit www.livehealthyiowakids.org and encourage your school’s officials to register your school!
Share with us how your family lives healthy! What is your family’s favorite healthy habit or recipe? Comment below, we love to hear from you!