Childhood obesity is an epidemic in the United States, with more than 23 million children ages two to 19 being obese or overweight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Nearly one third of American children are at early risk for Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke.
September 2013 marks the fourth annual National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month (COAM). The mission of COAM is to motivate families and communities to become healthier. This goes hand-in-hand with BYO's mission: to create play for children nationwide, regardless of budget. Every child should have access to playgrounds and play spaces that give them the opportunity to learn, grow, exercise and be healthy.
The CDC states that overweight and obesity are the result of â€œcaloric imbalanceâ€ - too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed - and are affected by various genetic, behavioral and environmental factors.
Lifestyle changes can prevent and help reverse childhood obesity. Eating healthy meals and being physically active and fit as individuals, families and communities can have a big impact. Children need positive role models who can teach them about being healthy, not only through words but also actions. Schools can make changes to support and encourage a healthy lifestyle - starting with physical education and recess and moving towards a more nutritional lunch program.
A great resource is Let's Move, a comprehensive initiative dedicated to solving the problem of obesity within a generation. It provides families, schools and communities with information about the issue, nutrition, physical activity and ways that everyone can take action and fight against childhood obesity.
Throughout the month of September, we will be focusing on the childhood obesity issue and how to help reverse this epidemic! Visit our blog weekly and our Facebook page to learn more about the issue and what you can do to help!
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