September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month: Help Them Become Healthy Heroes

September 14, 2023
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September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, a time for us to learn about a complex issue affecting many kids in the U.S. Childhood obesity can lead to serious health problems like asthma, diabetes, and heart issues. This month, let’s help our kids become ‘healthy superheroes’ by helping them focus on healthy eating, physical activity, and good sleep habits. Join us on this important heroes’ journey to keep our families strong and healthy.

Obesity in children happens when kids have too much body fat due to a number of different reasons. In the United States, about 1 in 5 children has obesity. This can lead to many health problems, like asthma, diabetes, and even heart issues. Knowing how to prevent it and keep our families healthy is crucial.

What Causes Childhood Obesity?

Childhood obesity is like a puzzle with many moving pieces. Some kids have it because of their genes, while others because of what they eat and how active they are. Sleep is also important – kids who don’t get enough sleep can be at risk. So, we must look at our children’s eating habits, playtime, and sleep routines.

Knowing The Health Risks

Obesity can cause serious health problems. Kids with obesity can get sick more easily and might have trouble moving or playing with friends. They could even face high blood pressure and other heart problems sooner than you think. Plus, it can cost more money for medical care.

Healthy Eating Is The First Step

Preventing obesity isn’t just about losing weight. It’s about being healthy and strong, starting with paying attention to what we allow our kids to eat. Families can help lead by example – choose healthy, whole foods like fruits and veggies instead of chips or overly processed snacks. Even frozen or canned ones are good for you! Try to find low-salt options, too. Families that eat a healthy diet together have an easier time keeping everyone in good health with ideal body weights.

Get Moving as a Family

Moving and playing is fun, and most activity is good for our bodies. Young kids should play as much as possible during the day older ones should get some exercise daily. Walking, biking, and playing in the yard all count. Even chores like washing the car or helping with yardwork can help!

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is like a superhero’s recharge for our bodies. It helps prevent obesity and keeps us focused and healthy. Preschoolers need 11–13 hours of sleep, older kids 9–12 hours, and teens 8–10 hours. Stick to a schedule, even on weekends, to sleep better.

Less Screen Time, More Family Time

Too much TV or video games can cause problems. It can make it hard to sleep, gain weight, and do well in school. Try turning off screens an hour before bedtime and keep them out of bedrooms. Spend more time with family, like playing games or going for walks.

Talk to Your Health Care Provider

If you’re concerned your that your child’s weight may be an issue, talk to your healthcare team. They can help figure out if there are health risks. If your child has overweight or obesity issues, you could start them on some sort of Family Healthy Weight Program. These programs help families make healthy choices and stay strong together. CHC”s incredible team of Health Educators is here to help. They even have FREE EXERCISE CLASSES for CHC patients and their families.

Remember, keeping a healthy weight is not just about looking, moving, eating and sleeping good, but feeling good too! Let’s make smart choices together, eat well, play more, and sleep tight to keep our families heroically happy and healthy.

© 2024 Community Health Centers of the Central Coast

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