Obesity is a disease that occurs when an individual has a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile of the CDC’s growth charts. The disease is problematic because it puts people at far greater risk for other health issues like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, cancer risk, and more.
Obesity has been on the rise in the United States for decades, but it is becoming increasingly prevalent in children. According to the CDC, nearly 20% of children between the ages of 2-19 (~ 15 million) suffer from obesity, with the majority of them being Black or Hispanic. This has created an epidemic for our younger generations, but even more so for minority communities.
Here’s how to prevent childhood obesity:
- Healthy Eating Habits - Teach your children healthy eating habits like portion control, only eating at set meal times, and avoiding unhealthy snack temptations. Make sure to provide them with a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
- Plenty of Activity - It’s also important to make sure your child gets plenty of exercise. This can be done by being active together as a family, signing them up for a sports team, or letting them play outside in your neighborhood with other kids. No matter what it is, the key is to make sure they get moving.
- Limit Sedentary Behavior - Limit sedentary behavior like watching TV, browsing the internet, or playing video games. Each can still be enjoyed, but provide limits for your child and stick to them.
- Healthy Sleeping Routine - Getting too little sleep can cause obesity by making us tired, which contributes to us wanting to eat more and be less physically active. Help your child develop a healthy sleeping routine by going to bed at the same time every night, limiting screen time before bed, and making sure they get enough sleep each night.
The easiest way to keep your child healthy is to practice healthy habits as a family since parents are the main role models for children. What you do will determine what your child does now and as they grow up.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Mississippi Delta aim to combat childhood obesity and keep kids healthy with our fitness programs like Triple Play and SMARTMoves. We believe teaching kids about healthy eating and fitness habits will help them have sustained success now and in the future. Find out how to get involved by signing your child up, making a donation, or volunteering to help our cause today!