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Saturday, September 24, 2011

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

The United States has seen a drastic rise in the incidence of obesity in recent years. The problem affects people of all ages, but in recent years, more and more young people are now classified as obese.

Obesity is having too much body fat. Here are some sobering statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, GA:

- Percent of adolescents age 12-19 years who are obese: 18% (2007-2008)
- Percent of children age 6-11 years who are obese: 20% (2007-2008)
- Percent of children age 2-5 years who are obese: 10% (2007-2008)

It is important to burn more calories than you eat in order to lose weight. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute suggest these things for taking in fewer calories per day:

- Drink water instead of a 12-ounce regular soda
- Order a small serving of French fries instead of a medium, or order a salad with dressing on the side instead
- Eat an egg-white omelet (with three eggs), instead of whole eggs
- Use tuna canned in water (6-ounce can), instead of oil

And here are some ways to burn more calories:

- Shoot hoops
- Walk two miles
- Do yard work (gardening, raking leaves, etc.)
- Go for a bike ride
- Dance with your family or friends

Nutrition tips

Here are some foods to include in your diet so that you and your children can eat healthier meals:

- Low-fat dairy (less than 2% fat).
- Fish, chicken, and lean meat.
- Fruits and vegetables.
- Nuts, whole grains, and legumes.

Television personality Rachael Ray’s Yum-o! organization teams with Alliance for a Healthier Generation to Provide Healthy and Delicious Recipes for School Cafeterias Across the Country. The recipes will be provided for free to schools all across the United States. If you want to read more about this, visit http://www.yum-o.org/ for all the information. If your school does not participate, this would be a good opportunity to share this information with them. Also at the Yum-O web site are recipes for children of all ages. The organization stresses the importance of getting your kids involved in the cooking process at a young age so that they will grow up with a health respect for food and be more interested in eating nutritious meals. If you are having trouble coming up with recipes that your kids enjoy, you can search the web site by age group or other categories to narrow down your search. It’s a great web site.

Here are some other links to more information on childhood obesity:

Helping Your Overweight Child (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)

Childhood Overweight and Obesity (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

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