September is National Childhood Obesity Month

Tips to get fit for fall and fight childhood obesity!

September 7, 2016

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One in three children in the United States are overweight or obese. Childhood obesity is so prevalent that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls it a “major health problem” in the US. Its effects on children, as well as adults, can result in serious illness, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

The good news is that childhood obesity is preventable and treatable. To shine light on the issue, September has been deemed National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. The first obesity awareness month was in 2010 and coincided with First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative – a program focusing on child health through healthy eating and exercise.

Last year, President Obama issued a proclamation on the fifth anniversary of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, stating that since the push to raise awareness the US has seen a drop in obesity rates among children ages two to five years old.  President Obama also said, "Despite this progress, more work remains to ensure every young person can lead a prosperous and productive life -- more than 30 percent of American children are still overweight or obese.” You can read the full proclamation here.

This month try some new healthy habits with the whole family:

  • Place fruits and veggies out on the counter for easy access.
  • Go on a family walk after dinner.
  • Set aside a couple hours on the weekend to do an outdoor activity with the family.
  • Set a time limit on weekly television viewing.

Parents and caretakers are key to ensuring a child is on the right path to a healthy weight and there’s support available online and through many of our Starlight partners. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles has a unique clinic that helps with weight management, offering services such as nutrition and physical therapy. Boston Children’s Hospital has a partnered with The New Balance Foundation to provide a center that is a resource for parents, children, healthcare providers and others who are dedicated to combating childhood obesity. Almost every medical center has resources for families to learn about preventing childhood obesity.

If you need some motivation to exercise with your kid, it's as simple as watching a YouTube video. There are lots of them available to demonstrate exercise that is good for children, like this program from LIVEexercise. Always check with a doctor before enrolling your child in any activity program, especially if they are suffering from a health issue.

If a child begins to live a healthy lifestyle at a young age, it's more likely they'll grow up to be a healthy adult. So start today, go out and play!

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