Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

6 September 2016

National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

Through our commitment to improving the health and well-being of our families and our community, the Y recognizes Childhood Obesity Awareness Month this September.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Approximately 30% of children and teens are overweight or obese, leading to significant long-term health complications such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma and sleep apnea. Overweight or obese children may also experience lower self-esteem, which can negatively affect social development and academic success. As a leading voice on health, well-being, and youth development, the Y incorporates sports, recreation, and active play in all youth development programs to help reduce childhood obesity. After-school programs emphasize a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity daily, provide healthy snacks, and integrate nutrition education into after-school programming. The Y’s youth sports program keeps kids moving and having fun as they learn sportsmanship and develop strong character values

As a leading community-based organization dedicated to improving health, the Y offers the following tips to help families in South Hampton Roads incorporate healthy eating and regular physical activity into their lives. The following tips will not only help families live healthier together but help prevent childhood obesity as well:

1. Eat & Drink Healthy: Make water the drink of choice (supplemented by age-appropriate servings of low-fat milk) and make it easy for everyone to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables by offering two or three colorful options at every meal. Feel free to mix and match fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables to provide variety. Place a full pitcher of water on the table during meals, and allow children to pour their own water.

2. Play Every Day/Go Outside: Kids should have at least an hour a day of unstructured play outside (when possible) and break a sweat at least three times a week by getting 20 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity. Join your children in games that get your hearts pumping and bodies moving.

3. Get Together: Eat as a family as frequently as possible. Involve kids in meal planning, preparation and clean up. In addition, adults should take a break from electronics and spend one-to-one time each day with their kids, enjoying one another’s company.

4. Reduce Recreational Screen Time: Time spent in front of a television, computer, tablet, cell phone or video games should be limited to two hours or less per day. Make a family plan to reduce screen time at home (i.e. turn off screens during meals, keep a chart, go for a walk after a meal).

5. Sleep Well: Kids and adults need to keep a regular sleep schedule; go to bed and rise from bed within 1 hour of the same time every day. Kids are growing and need 10-12 hours of healthy sleep per night and seven to eight hours for adults.

6. Sign up for a Y-Change Family Class: We know that change isn’t easy and living healthy is a choice you have to make each and every day. We’ve designed the Y-Change Family healthy lifestyle program to help guide and support you every step of the way, while incorporating a fun enviroment that encourages quality family time. Y-Change will provide you with coaching, knowledge, resources and group support to help you make small physical activity and nutritional changes that add up to a healthier lifestyle. Y-Change is also included in membership!