The obesity epidemic, one of the most serious health problems in the U.S., is made worse by the fact that childhood obesity is increasing at an alarming rate. September is observed as “National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month” in the United States to provide federal and community organizations, educators, physicians, and the general public with the opportunity to take a stand and fight childhood obesity.
Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that obesity rates have doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. It is estimated that 1 in 3 children in the United States is overweight or obese. Obesity puts children at risk of several health problems such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cholesterol – all of which were earlier seen only in adults.
While ‘overweight’ means having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors, obesity is defined as having excess body fat. These conditions are the result of “caloric imbalance” or too few calories spent in relation to the amount of calories consumed, which simply means too much of calorie-rich food and too little physical activity or exercise. The dietary and physical activity behaviors of children and adolescents are influenced by many aspects including family, schools, childcare settings and medical care providers. In most cases, children and adolescents who are obese are likely to become obese when they become adults.
Initiated about five years ago, the National Childhood Awareness campaign aims to put an end to the preventable epidemic of childhood obesity. This platform is used to educate parents about the negative effects of this growing epidemic and how to help children stay at a healthy weight.
In his proclamation on the occasion of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, 2015, the President of the United States encourages all Americans to learn about and engage in activities that promote healthy eating and greater physical activity by all the Nation’s children.
The month-long campaign encourages communities, health professionals, schools and families to work together to create opportunities for kids to eat healthier and get more active. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to make small changes in their lifestyle, like serving higher nutrient, lower calorie foods at meals in place of foods with higher-calorie content, and to motivate kids to get proper exercise. Such healthy habits will help promote weight loss in those who are obese.