5 Health Tips for Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September 26, 2017

 

It's not always about eating less — sometimes it just means eating (and living) smarter."

Children in 2017 are more the three times more likely to be obese than they were in the 1970s. Three times! That means 1 out of every 5 children (ages 6-19) are obese, making them vulernable to all kinds of serious health issues — not just later in life, but right now.

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and the YMCA is dedicated to helping children of all ages live healthy, active lives. Here are a few tips that parents, caretakers, teachers, and other adults can use to help combat childhood obesity in their own homes, schools, and communities. It's not always about eating less — sometimes it's about eating (and living) smarter.

  1. Smarter Meals. Obviously, the first step toward a healthier weight is a better diet, but it doesn't have to be overly complicated. Just subtract the volume of sodium (salty stuff) and trans fats, then add more fruits, vegetables, whole grains.
  2. Smarter Snacks. Instead of candy bars, cookies, and soda, consider nuts (be careful with allergies, though), light popcorn, granola bars, fruit cups, or zero-calorie flavored sparkling water like La Croix, Dasani, and Perrier.
  3. Smarter Celebrations. Kids are often rewarded in school and at home with pizza, cake, or ice cream. While there's nothing wrong with the occasional sweet, consider celebrating with some delicious fruit. See how many unusual, exotic fruits you can try!
  4. Smarter Role Models. Kids are more likely to adopt healthy habits if they see you do the same. Make sure your meals and snacks are just as healthy!
  5. Smarter Play Time. Come up with some new, physical games to play with your kids at home. If the weather's nice, try Foursquare or Spud. If you're stuck inside, try Freeze Dance, or even a timed scavenger hunt where everyone has to race against the clock!