Here are two fun facts you might not have known about September.  It is the month of my birthday and it is the month for National Childhood Obesity Awareness.  My birthday, you probably don’t care about, but the other…well.

Obesity rates in general are sky high in our country.  It is only natural to assume that our kids are becoming more and more obese as well.  Since, we do work with a lot of young athletes, I wanted to shed some light on the topic to help reverse this growing trend.

According to the CDC, 1 in 5 kids (about 19%) are considered obese in our country.  I’m not going to go into detail all the negative health risks associated with our children when they start becoming obese.  Let’s just say, anything you are trying to avoid as an adult is starting to happen to these kids when they enter that obese range.

Why are the obesity rates rising in kids?  Here are a few reasons:

  • Gym class is being cut out more and more in schools. Thus, they are not getting the activity they need to burn calories.
  • They are spending more time on electronics that are keeping them inactive.
  • They are getting burned out by the intensity of sports as they get older. So, they quit the sport.  Instead of replacing it with another sport, they do nothing and are inactive.
  • They eat easily accessible high calorie, little nutrient foods. Typically eating a lot more calories than they burn.
  • They just aren’t going outside playing anymore. Kid gatherings center around electronics and not on outdoor activities.
  • Kids don’t sleep enough. Lack of sleep prevents the body’s ability to do the healthy growing that kids need at that age.

If you have kids, some of those reasons may make you nod your head in agreement.  Something you probably have noticed, maybe not all the time, but some of the time with your own kids.

Even if you have a child that plays sports or seems active, your doctor still might say that you need to start doing things based on height/weight charts he/she have.

That being said, here are a few suggestions you can implement with your kids right now:

  • Replace any pops or sugary drinks with water. This is a simple way to avoid meaningless calories.
  • Try to do something active as a family if playing outside isn’t available or convenient. Go hiking at a park or take a nice walk around the neighborhood.  Doing it as a family, will be more engaging for everybody involved.
  • Enforce getting the appropriate amount of sleep 8+ hours, trying to have a consistent sleep and wake time.
  • Monitor the time on electronics. I know this is tough, but limit how much they should be using them.  Ideally, make them do something active for 30 minutes in place of that electronics time.
  • Control the type of snacks you have available at the home. Don’t buy every chip bag known to man.  Buy one and then have healthier alternatives.  Introduce them to fruits and vegetables they can eat as snacks.  GASP!!
  • Be a positive role model. You don’t have to be Mr. or Mrs. Goodbody, but do some things that promote good health.  This can give them realistic expectations on how to live a healthier lifestyle without feeling nagging guilt every time they do have a dessert after dinner.

In the comments section below, please share some of the ideas and activities you do with your family to help bring awareness to childhood obesity and/or a healthier lifestyle.  I’m sure my readers would be interested to learn what average people do.