TO YOUR healthSeptember is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. In the past four decades, obesity rates in the United States have soared among all age groups.  This rise in obesity rates has affected our youth in alarming fashion. Childhood obesity has increased more than fourfold among those ages 6 to 11. More than 23 million children and teenagers in the United States ages 2 to 19 are obese or overweight, a statistic that health and medical experts consider an epidemic.  And this epidemic puts nearly one third of America’s children at early risk for Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and even stroke – conditions usually associated with adulthood.  Even greater disparities exist among young

Parents, health care providers, educators, civic leaders and organizations believe that increased attention to this issue along with programs and activities to help prevent childhood obesity, promote healthy eating and physical activity, can increase awareness of childhood obesity among individuals of all ages and walks of life.

Here are a Few Facts About Childhood Obesity:

One in three American children is already overweight or obese. They are at greater risk of cardiovascular disease, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, psychological problems, bullying and more. This is a sobering public health issue, compounding as overweight and obesity continue into adulthood.

The financial implications of childhood obesity are sobering, at $14 billion per year in direct health care costs alone. Increased awareness and prevention of childhood obesity will save billions of dollars in unnecessary health care costs and promote healthier lifestyles to improve and prolong the lives of the next generation of Americans.

Protecting the health and wellbeing of American children for years to come is a critical endeavor. Adults must ensure that young people receive a healthy start in life.

The good news is that childhood obesity can be prevented. In honor of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, McKenna Publishing encourages your family to make healthy changes together. Taking small steps as a family can help your child achieve and/or maintain a healthy weight. Here are just a few ideas we want to share:

Get active outside: Walk around the neighborhood, go on a bike ride, or play basketball at the park.

Limit screen time: Keep screen time (time spent on the computer, watching TV, or playing video games) to 2 hours or less a day.

Make healthy meals: Buy and serve more vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain foods.

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