September is observed as “National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month” in the United States.
While obesity rates in the United States have increased among all age groups during the past few years, children are seriously affected. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over the last 30 years, the number of children who are obese has more than doubled and the number of adolescents who are obese has more than tripled. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that 1 out of 3 children (15% of children) are overweight and obese and at risk of many health problems such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cholesterol – all of which were earlier seen only in adults.
National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month provides the opportunity to learn about different ways to prevent and manage this serious health issue. The mission of this month-long childhood obesity campaign is to raise awareness about this growing epidemic and educate people on how they can take steps towards a permanent solution.
Children who are overweight are more likely to become obese even as adults. A sedentary lifestyle combined with low physical activity and unhealthy diet is a major factor contributing to this health concern. The national childhood obesity awareness campaign is designed to spread more awareness about the potential benefits of healthy eating and active living that would allow children to live a prosperous and productive life. It is the duty of caregivers and family members to encourage children to make healthy choices and behaviors by staying active and eating nutritious meals at home. In addition, they should motivate kids to engage in regular physical activity and exercise programs. Regular exercise helps in weight loss and strengthens muscles.
A combined effort is needed to encourage children to follow a healthy lifestyle. Parents, teachers, administrators, doctors, nurses and caregivers should be involved in the campaign. Schools can encourage students to stay healthy by incorporating action policies and practices that support regular physical activity and good eating, and by offering opportunities for children to learn the importance of practicing these behaviors.
The bottom line is that a routine that incorporates healthy food intake and adequate physical activity is an easy and smart way for children and adolescents to keep obesity at bay.