National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month is in September, but we need to take note that our kids are suffering throughout the year.
There is no easy way to accept this issue. Many believe that it is not a disease, but lack of self-control. Kids are not getting enough exercise, and neither are adults. They're on the Internet more, playing games, and trolling social media sites. There is more to keep them immobile than ever before. One in three children is overweight and the epidemic is not ceasing. The state of children's health in this area is so bad that the White House got involved. Over five years ago the nation observed National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month for the first time to bring awareness to the nation that children's health was on the decline from the effect of being obese.
The highlighted agenda included to encourage kids to become more physically active, to eat better lunches at schools and daycare, along with getting restaurants on-board to provide kids healthier choices. Yes, beyond the French fries. Barack
Obama released a Presidential Proclamation in 2015: "During National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and throughout the entire year, let us each commit to reaching toward a healthy lifestyle so we can serve as examples of healthy eating and active living for our nation's children. Eliminating childhood obesity will require every American to play their part, and together we can work toward building healthy, active communities where all children can realize their dreams and meet their full potential."
Additionally, there was a push from the First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! Campaign, which joined forces with community leaders and medical experts to expand resources nationwide so every child, has an opportunity to have access to a more balanced diet. Michelle Obama was applauded for her initiative on ending childhood obesity.
"I think Michelle Obama is on the right track with her Let's Move! campaign to bring down childhood obesity," former Republican politician Aaron Schock said according to published reports. "She and I come from the same state, Illinois, which is number four in the nation for obese children. One out of five Illinois children are considered obese. Not overweight, obese. And two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese."
Fighting against obesity and for the health of future generations is pretty serious business. Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention cited several stats on the situation. There has been a decline in obesity over the years, but it is not enough the Centers for Disease and Control explained.
"If we look at the last 30 years Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States. Despite recent declines in the prevalence among preschool-aged children, obesity among children is still too high. For children and adolescents aged 2-19 years, the prevalence of obesity has remained fairly stable at about 17 percent and affects about 12.7 million children and adolescents for the past decade."
Obesity has doubled in children during the last 30 years. Harvard School of Public Health found that that there is an estimated 43 million preschool children under the age of five overweight in 2010. There has been a 60 percent increase since 1990. Here are some of the risks associated with obesity in children "that harm nearly every system in a child's body-heart and lungs, muscles and bones, kidneys and digestive tract, as well as the hormones that control blood sugar and puberty-and can also take a heavy social and emotional toll. What is worse, our youth who are overweight or obese have substantially higher odds of remaining overweight or obese into adulthood."
What can we do? Parents need to come to terms that it will never be like it was generations ago when children loved to be outside and enjoyed physical activity. We're in the internet age. We can encourage children to be more active outdoors. Motivating them to take a hobby that interests them will help them to enjoy being active more. This can be soccer, baseball, swimming, biking, golfing, or horseback riding. Cheer them to increase self-esteem, and build encouragement. Limit the time on the phone and computer.
Psychologist Kimberly Young pointed out in her New York Times "How to Regulate Your Child Use of Technology at Every Age." Young said to limit recreation time, but no more than two hours a day until they reach the age of 12. "Your child may be more independent with technology but supervision is still very important. Ages 12 to 18 will probably be the most contentious years: By now, your teen may have a smartphone and many of their friends will have unlimited computer access. If you grant unrestricted use, have your teens maintain a log of how much time they spend in the digital world: This will help them maintain a healthy digital diet, without the helicopter-parenting effect."
All of us need to make an effort to keep kids healthy, let's start by motivating them that there is more to life than technology. People need to stop giving their kids the phone or the computer to keep them occupied instead of investing in their future by getting them more involved. Passive parenting doesn't work--unfortunately, the obesity epidemic is teaching us this lesson. Many families can't afford to buy organic and healthier items for their kids. Where does this leave them? Many people have no choice, but to buy cheaper and that is processed foods. Society can put the blame, but who should it be? It is all of us who shoulder the blame. Kids are gifts, let's invest more in them, and do what we can without blaming everyone else. "Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They came through you but not from you and though they are with you yet they belong not to you," poet Khalil Gibran said. Share your thoughts on the issue.