September is Childhood Obesity Month
One in 5 children in the United States are obese. Unfortunately, some groups are at greater risk of obesity than others. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The good news? Childhood obesity can be prevented. Every child deserves to have an opportunity to grow up healthy. While there is no simple solution, there are many ways communities can support children with their journey to good health. Here are a few resources that can help.
- Get Kids Moving. Parents can set a good example for kids and engage them in getting the recommended 60 minutes of activity each day. Whatever gets you and your kids moving counts. Use the Move Your Way interactive tool planner to build a weekly activity planner. For more tips to get moving check out Move Your Way.
- Eat Healthier. A healthy diet includes making half our plates fruits and veggies. The Half My Plate mobile app is a free customizable tracker that can encourage families to make half their plate fruits and vegetables. Enter the fruits and vegetables you eat each day and watch as they pile up on your plate. And to help spark your creativity, the app also includes a searchable database of recipes that feature fruits and vegetables. Download with apple or android.
- Play at the park. Parks are a great and inexpensive place to have fun and get active. We developed, Places to Play, a list of all public parks and their amenities for Clark County, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson and organized them by zip code. Check out the Places to Play and find a park near you!
- Walk or bike to school. Walking and biking are healthy ways to get to and from school. Though many kids are learning from home right now, school zones are still being enforced. This is a great time to teach your children safe biking and pedestrian skills so they’ll be better prepared when it’s time to walk and bike to school again. Visit our Safe Routes to School webpage to find out tips for walking and bike to school.
- Eat together as a family. Family meals promote better family functioning, connectedness, cohesion and communication, as well as being associated with a higher quality diet and more fruits and vegetables consumed. Get your kids involved in the cooking process. This will encourage their buy-in and may help them try new healthy foods. Let them help plan the family meals and choose the vegetables that they want for dinner. Come up with theme dinner nights to keep things fun. If anything, cooking with your kids will let you spend quality time together and teach them a valuable life skill.
- Limit your child’s screen time (e.g. computer, video games, and TV). With many kids learning from home right now, it is likely that screen time has increased in your household. However, you can still set limits on non-educational screen time and encourage your child to find fun activities to do on their own or with friends and family that don’t involve screens such as riding bikes or scooters outside.
- Find resources that work. The University of Nevada Reno Cooperative Extension has developed a Healthy Kids Resource Center as a one-stop-shop for evidence-based research, resources, curricula, activities and materials that focus on obesity prevention for teachers and parents of young children. It is designed to educate parents and teachers as well as provide the tools needed to teach young children how to live a healthy lifestyle.
- For information on meal planning, shopping and budgeting check out the SNAP-ed website.
We can all take part in the effort to encourage children to be more physically active and eat a healthy diet. Use Childhood Obesity Month to celebrate finding ways to support your child in being a healthy and active kid all month long.