Obesity has been a growing problem in America, and it seems to be affecting children now more than ever before. Childhood obesity is rapidly becoming a nationwide epidemic. If it isn’t addressed early enough, it can cause health issues in adulthood. But, like any issue, we must first acknowledge and better understand childhood obesity before we can fight it. We can only do this by banding together and raising awareness. And with August coming to a close, National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month is just around the corner.
The Scope of the Childhood Obesity in the U.S.
The World Health Organization has already deemed obesity to be a worldwide epidemic. In fact, it’s been one of the most prevalent health issues for over thirty years. Even worse, this condition is now affecting more and more children with each passing year. The rates of obesity have doubled among young children and quadrupled in adolescents over the last three decades in the United States. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control has determined that one in every six children in the United States is obese. Even worse, these children are more likely to grow up to be obese adults with other medical problems.
Childhood Obesity and Adult Health
There are other conditions, both physical and psychological, surrounding obesity that can affect children later in life. For instance, children with obesity are statistically at a much higher risk of developing:
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
- muscle, bone or joint problems
- types 1 or 2 diabetes
There are psychological dangers to obesity, too. The stigma surrounding obesity could mean that obese children face more bullying or isolation. This, in turn, results in higher risks of depression, anxiety, or self-image distortion. These and many other surrounding issues are what makes childhood obesity such a serious issue. This is why childhood obesity awareness is so important.
Raising Childhood Obesity Awareness by Making Small Changes
There are several ways in which parents, schools, and communities can help raise childhood obesity awareness and help promote and support healthy growth in children.
Stay Active, and Make It Fun!
Finding the right balance between activity and inactivity is important for maintaining a healthy weight, especially for children. The American Heart Association recommends at least one hour of physical activity each day for children. Parents can help combat childhood obesity by encouraging their children to participate in fun, age-appropriate activities at home, at school, and with friends. There are a variety of ways for children to get their daily exercise. Some ideas include joining a community sports team, a school sports or fitness club, or even something like swimming or horseback riding.
Swap Out the Sugars for Superfoods
So much of the sugary sweets we find stocked in grocery stores today are meant to stuff kids’ lunchboxes. In reality, growing children should be eating nutrient-dense foods like fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Parents who want to work together to raise childhood obesity awareness can do so by stocking their pantries with healthier foods and making them more accessible to their kids. This will teach children that certain snacks are not only better for you, but are also more filling and will give you more energy. And parents aren’t the only ones who can make this small change. Schools have been making more of an effort in recent years to make healthier options available for their students.
Water, Water, and More Water!
Juice is one of the biggest tricks in the world of “health” foods. We’re lead to believe that because it’s made from fruit, it must be healthy and nutritious, but the reality is that most juices are nothing but sugars and artificial flavors. One of the easiest ways for parents to help their kids maintain a healthy weight and reduce their risks of obesity is to swap out juices and other sugary drinks with water. This can include flavored water, which actually does have natural fruit flavors. You just have to be sure to look at the label. Or, you always have the option of adding fruit to the water yourself. You can even freeze cubes of fruit and use it as ice!
Teach Kids More About Obesity and Health
A common mistake that a lot of parents make when dealing with the health of their kids is excluding their kids from the know. When it comes it raising childhood obesity awareness, it’s actually really important that the kids themselves are properly educated about the risks of and surrounding obesity. With the vast majority of adolescents in school and roughly 60% of American children younger than six years old enrolled in some sort of day care, parents and teachers must both work together to teach and support healthy habits and behaviors. This can only be done through education.
Overall, parents, teachers and community leaders can contribute to raising childhood obesity awareness by encouraging these changes and teaching children more about obesity. By working together, communities everywhere can fight the obesity epidemic by inspiring children from an early age to make healthier decisions about food and daily exercise, effectively slowing the national rates of childhood obesity.
Make a Difference with Rx Helper
With National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month arriving in just a few weeks, we owe it to this generation to prepare them for the fight against obesity. Let’s use this month to raise awareness about obesity and to work toward solving the problem for good in the long run. If you, your child or someone you care about is already suffering from a medical complication brought on by childhood obesity, it’s not too late to make a turnaround. Talk to your doctor about ways to make healthy lifestyle changes. In the meantime, The Rx Helper is here to help you afford the medications you need to maintain a healthy, active life. For more information, call us at 1-888-233-4303.