09 - September

National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
Posted on 09/10/2015

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and although our community is aware of the dangers and risks of childhood obesity, many families still need support changing their children's habits. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity has more than tripled in children and adolescents over the past 30 years. Today, obesity affects one in six children and one in three are overweight, which poses greater risks for a number of health problems such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and some cancers. Here in Texas 36.6% of all children are considered overweight or obese according to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

The Wellness Department's goal is to help families understand the dangers of childhood obesity and decrease the current trend by encouraging increased physical activity and improved eating habits. The following tips from the YMCA are some great ways to incorporate more activity and healthier eating habits into your daily family routine:

•Eat Healthy: Make water the drink of choice (supplemented by age-appropriate portions of 100 percent fruit juices and low-fat milk) and make it easy for everyone to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables by offering two or three colorful options. Feel free to mix and match fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables to provide variety.

•Play Every Day/Go Outside: Kids should have at least an hour a day of unstructured play outside (when possible) and break a sweat at least three times a week by getting 20 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity.

•Get Together: Eat as a family as frequently as possible with kids involved in meal preparation and clean up. In addition, adults should take a break from electronics and spend one-on-one time each day with their kids, enjoying one another's company.

•Reduce Screen Time: Time spent in front of a television, computer, tablet, cell phone or video games should be limited to two hours per day.

•Sleep Well: Kids and adults need to keep a regular sleep schedule-10-12 hours per night for kids and seven to eight hours for adults.