Just as our own health is very important to us, so is the health of our families – especially our children. When it comes to raising a family and discussing health, weight can often be a sensitive topic. However, a child’s weight can have just as much of an impact on their health and lifestyle as it does any adult, and it’s important to be conscious of our child’s weight as they grow and develop into adolescence.
This September, you can play a role in your child’s health by participating in Childhood Obesity Awareness month! Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States and affects more than 30 percent of children, making it the most chronic disease of childhood. And, this number has more than tripled since 1980. While childhood obesity is a serious health issue and is not to be underestimated, there are a variety of ways that you can take advantage of this month to inspire health in your families now in the future.
Inspiring Health in Your Families: Doing Your Part to Prevent and Manage Childhood Obesity
- Encourage your families to make small changes – Simple changes and adjustments to your routines, such as involving your family more with grocery shopping or physical activities can make small but significant impacts on their health (as well as yours!) Consider picking out more produce and healthy snacks at the store together, or going for a family walk after dinnertime.
- Set a limit on screen time – While it may be hard to limit your screen time if you use a computer for work, it may be a good idea to limit the amount of time you and your family spend with technology during leisure time (after work, after school, before bed, etc). This includes cutting back on time spent with the television, playing video games, browsing the web on your phones and using a computer.
- Motivate teachers and administrators to make schools healthier – If you have children in school, consider joining a PTA (Parent Teacher Association) or similar program to play a role in your child’s education and time spent at school. For example, you can advocate for healthier lunch options or more opportunities to go outside, whether it’s for recess or a physical education class.
- Eat at the table together – Instead of going out to eat frequently or eating in front of the television, sit at the table with your food together as a family. By making meal time a family affair in your own home, you’re more likely to consume healthier foods, eat slower and choose smaller portions. It’s also a great way to stay connected and to spend time together. Plus, you’ll have healthier leftovers to reuse the next day!
- Ask doctors, nurses and other health professionals to lead by example – Health professionals play a significant role in shaping a child’s health, as well as the health of the family. Ask your family’s doctor(s) to support local programs which promote physical activity and healthier food choices. You can also ask that they participate in programs which specifically work to reduce childhood obesity.
Want more information about childhood obesity and additional ways that you can be a part of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month? Get armed with the right education and information about childhood obesity by CLICKING HERE.
To learn more about Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, you can also visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site by CLICKING HERE.