The Childhood Obesity Epidemic: How You Can Immunize Your Kids
We are failing as Americans when it comes to the battle against obesity. North Carolina is the fifth worst state for childhood obesity. With all the media surrounding the need to fight back and make healthier choices, obesity rates in our state are climbing. Do you want to know what you can do as a parent to help reverse this epidemic? Read on and find out.
The Obesity Epidemic
The childhood obesity epidemic is a serious problem. Adult obesity rates have doubled since 1980 and childhood rates have more than tripled. Obesity contributes to many health problems including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, asthma and sleep apnea. Children that are obese are also at risk of social discrimination, which can lead to anxiety and depression.
Our environment has changed considerably, which has dramatically affected one’s ability to make healthy choices for their family. Our lives have become so overrun with technology that the majority of Americans have a difficult time disconnecting in order to get the physical activity they need to live a healthy life. Our busy lives have caused us to often choose quick meals, which are often not the healthiest. Adding insult to injury, we are subjected to countless ads taunting us with savvy marketing messages that make us want to go out and grab that burger and fries!
The CDC recommends that children receive one hour or more of physical activity each day. While this may sound easy, the majority of children do not achieve receive this amount of activity. Physical education and recess have become the new red headed stepchildren.
Here are three alarming facts courtesy of the Let’s Move – Active Schools campaign: Two out of three kids in the U.S. are not getting the activity they need to be healthy and only 20% of school districts require daily recess. Recess – you know, that fun thing you did outside on the playground with your friends? Recess is not only important for gaining physical activity, it is important for social development. In addition, there are also only six states that require physical education in every grade (NC is not one of them).
In order to get children to be more active, parents must lead the way by being a positive example for their children. Physical activity should be a part of the family’s daily routine. Take a walk or bike ride as a family after dinner. Play a game of soccer or Frisbee with the kids. In these hot, summer months head to the pool for a swim. Just get active.
The summer months provide the perfect opportunity to keep a pulse on the activity your children receive. If they are going to camp, try to choose camps that encourage physical activity. If they are home, send them outdoors and let them play. What they do can be as uncomplicated as going for a walk, bike riding, playing on the playground, jump roping, running in the sprinklers or on the slip and slide and so much more.
This summer at Rainbow Pediatrics we encourage you to make a list of things you want to do as a family. Be sure to add your child’s favorites too. Then get busy and start crossing things off that list!