by Lauren Mandel
We’ve broached the issue of obesity on the blog before, but for National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, let’s take a closer look at the epidemic that’s also affecting the youth population in the United States.
More than 23 million children ages 2 to 19 in the United States are obese or overweight. That’s equal to a third of the country’s children who are at greater risk for Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, not to mention added stress and anxiety from social pressure as they grow up.
So what can be done to prevent this epidemic from continuing? Below we share a few small changes you can make this September to help change your life and the lives of your children.
Encourage healthy snacking
Active youngsters are always looking for their next snack. Although chips or cookies can be tempting, they’re filled with mostly empty calories and have very little nutritional value. The Obesity Action Coalition suggests healthy snacks like cheese slices, whole grain crackers, and whole pieces of fruit. These choices are easy to grab on-the-go and will keep your kids full until dinner time.
Avoid the couch
It’s easy for kids to come home from school, plop down on the couch with the remote control in hand, and stay there for hours. Instead, try limiting their screen time – TV, iPads, computers – and instead encourage them to get outside, pick up an after-school sport, or spend time at a friend’s house. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends children and adolescents do at least an hour of physical activity every day. Staying active will help your kids maintain a healthier weight.
Schedule regular doctor visits
Avoiding the doctor might seem harmless, but in reality, visits to the pediatrician are necessary to monitor your kids’ health and growth, as well as to prevent obesity. And now under the Affordable Care Act, pediatric services – including annual doctor visits – are covered as one of the 10 Essential Health Benefits. If you need health insurance for your family, you can visit GoHealthInsurance.com today to explore your options.