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Among parents in the United States, what’s the number one health concern for their children? Hint, it’s not drug abuse or smoking. It’s obesity.
Obesity among children is causing a broad range of health problems, that in the past, weren’t seen until adulthood. These include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, elevated blood cholesterol levels, negative body image, depression, and low self-esteem.
The former Surgeon General, Richard Carmona, stated the severity when he said, “Because of the increasing rates of obesity, unhealthy eating habits, and physical inactivity, we may see the first generation that will be less healthy and have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.”
Here are the facts:
- Obesity rates among preschoolers ages 2 to 5 have doubled in the past four decades.
- One in five children are overweight or obese by the time they reach their 6th birthday.
- Over half of obese children first become overweight at or before age two.
- Only 25% of children ages 2 to 11 years old consume three servings of vegetables a day, and less than 50% consume two daily servings of fruit. (the recommended daily intake)
I don’t know about you, but personally, I am shocked at those numbers.
How, as a society, did we become so leisure about our health?
I suggest we make a goal this summer to become more active, eat healthier, and live longer.
So, what can we do about it?
1. More Physical Activity – Encourage 1-2 hours of physical activity throughout the day, including outside play when possible. And exercise with your children if possible.
2. Less Screen Time – For children age two and older, the amount of screen time recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics is 1-2 hours per day and for children under 2 they suggest no screen time at all.
3. Eat Healthy – Serve fruits and vegetables at every meal. Eat more green foods and limit fried foods.
4. Limit Sugary Drinks – Encourage your child to drink water throughout the day.
Other free tools and resources can be found at www.HealthyKidsHealthyFuture.org.
Let’s all get up off the couch, get healthy, and be happy!
My children are not over weight they are skinny as rails, but I do worry about the food they are eating and if they are getting enough exercise. Being healthy is for everyone, not just people who are overweight. I try to let the kids know that all the time. Just Sayin’