September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and Cobb & Douglas Public Health wants to help families in the community live better and help prevent childhood obesity by incorporating regular physical activity and healthy eating into their daily routine.
According to Childhood Obesity Awareness Month (COAM), during the past four decades, obesity rates have soared among all age groups, increasing more than fourfold among children ages six to 11. More than 23 million children and teenagers (31.8 percent) ages two to 19 are obese or overweight, a statistic that health and medical experts consider an epidemic.
The following tips will not only help families live healthier together, but will also help prevent childhood obesity:
Encourage healthy eating habits.
There’s no great secret to healthy eating. To help your children and family develop healthy eating habits:
- Provide plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products.
- Include low-fat or non-fat milk or dairy products.
- Choose lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils, and beans for protein.
- Serve reasonably-sized portions.
- Encourage your family to drink lots of water.
- Limit sugar-sweetened beverages.
- Limit consumption of sugar and saturated fat.
Remember that small changes every day can lead to a recipe for success!
Look for ways to make favorite dishes healthier.
The recipes that you may prepare regularly, and that your family enjoys, with just a few changes can be healthier and just as satisfying.
Help kids stay active.
Children and teens should participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity most days of the week, preferably daily. Remember that children imitate adults. Start adding physical activity to your own daily routine and encourage your child to join you.
Some examples of moderate intensity physical activity include:
- Brisk walking
- Playing tag
- Jumping rope
- Playing soccer
Reduce sedentary time.
In addition to encouraging physical activity, help children avoid too much sedentary time. Although quiet time for reading and homework is fine, limit the time your children watch television, play video games, or surf the web to no more than two hours per day. Instead, encourage your children to find fun activities to do with family members or on their own that simply involve more activity.
For more information on National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, contact Cobb & Douglas Public Health’s Healthy Behaviors program at 770-432-7937 or visit: www.COAM-month.org.