According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one out of every three children in the United States is obese. September, which is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, provides an opportunity to learn about ways to prevent and address this serious health concern.
Obesity in children puts them at risk for a number of health issues, including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke and high blood pressure. Obesity also creates a financial burden of $14 billion per year in direct health care costs, said Dr. Ann Shoemaker DNP, Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.
Shoemaker also said psychological and psychosocial consequences include higher rates of depression, low self-esteem and slower academics and social growth for children. However, obesity and its side effects can be prevented.
The Department of Defense has found a way to combat childhood obesity and the health concerns that come with it by implementing the "5-2-1-0" program. This program is a set of guidelines for parents that encourage healthy behaviors for their children. Here are the recommendations:
? Eat "5" servings of fruit and vegetables each day.
? Get "2" hours or less of "screen time" to include television every day.
? Exercise vigorously for "1" hour.
? Drink "0" sweetened beverages, opt for water or low-fat milk instead.
President Barak Obama stated in the 2014 Presidential Proclamation for National COAM that family members, caregivers and other role models play a part in helping children make healthy choices.
"Those who support our kids can model healthy behaviors by staying active and preparing healthy meals at home," he said. "Families can plant kitchen gardens, cook together and encourage lifestyle choices that support a healthy weight."
Moderate-intensity aerobic exercises that can help prevent obesity include walking to school or helping with housework. Activities like gymnastics, martial arts or team sports are considered vigorous-intensity activities and are recommended at least three days per week.
Although September is ending, childhood obesity prevention and awareness is ongoing. The results of eating healthier and exercising can last a lifetime.
"During National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, we continue our work to provide every child with healthy food, active play and a good example to follow," the president concluded. "By committing to a healthy lifestyle for our families and eating right ourselves, we can help turn the tide against childhood obesity across our country."
The Bethel Manor Youth Center also provides sport programs for children such as Pitch Hit and Run Competition, America's Kids Run and seasonal leagues including baseball, soccer and flag football. For more information on the Youth Center or sport programs, call 225-2605.
For more information about the "5-2-1-0" program or other health encouraging programs, visit http://www.militaryfamilies.psu.edu/initiatives/resource-center-obesity-prevention.