Childhood obesity and obesity in general is an epidemic that has swept the United States in the last few decades. While the numbers have stopped increasing as rapidly as they had been, they are still too high. Wisconsin has reported that 31% of children ages 2-4 are overweight or obese.
With increased obesity rates, children are at a higher risk for Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleeping problems, heart disease, poor self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and eating disorders in the future. Children who are obese are also likely to carry it into adulthood and continue having numerous health problems.
Nothing about this epidemic is good and we all need to be proactive in preventing it. Obesity has many causes but the factors we have the most ability to impact change are physical activity and healthy nutrition Here are some helpful facts and tips to help combat childhood obesity at home and in classrooms.
- Infants need physical activity and active exploration daily
- Toddlers need at least 60-90 minutes of physical activity per day
- Preschoolers needs at least 90-120 minutes of physical activity per day
- School age kids need at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity
- Breastfeed infants longer
- Limit sugar-sweetened drink like soda and fruit juice
- Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables
- Eat whole grains instead of refined
- Limit high-fat proteins like hot dogs, pepperoni and chicken nuggets
- 1% or fat-free milk for children over 2
- Drink more water
- Set an example by exercising and also eating nutritious foods
- Offer appropriate food portions
- Keeping sedentary activities like TV and video games to a minimum
Here are some websites to provide more information.