child weighing food options during National Childhood Obesity Month

Make Healthy Choices to Combat Childhood Obesity

One in 3 children in the United States are overweight or obese according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services1. That means obesity affects approximately 12.7 million children and adolescents2. The month of September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness about this epidemic and to highlight simple steps parents, teachers, communities, and health professionals can take to combat it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, children with obesity are at a higher risk for3:

  • Asthma
  • Sleep apnea
  • Bone and joint issues
  • Type 2 diabetes

They also have more risk factors for3:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol

In addition to the emotional toll obesity may take on children due to bullying and social isolation, they are also more likely to have obesity as adults. Adult obesity is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many types of cancers3.

So what can we do to prevent obesity in children?

  1. Be role models. Make healthy choices when it comes to nutrition and fitness. Fill your plates with colorful fruits and vegetables. Stick to a fitness schedule. See your doctor regularly for checkups.
  2. Get kids involved. Let kids help in the planning and preparation of meals and in workout routines.
  3. Make creative choices. Prepare snacks and meals that are creative and colorful. Plan fitness routines that involve being in parks or fun recreational areas.
  4. Make small changes. Keep fresh fruit within reach or go on a family walk after meals.
  5. Talk with teachers and school administrators. Ask them to provide healthy food options and daily physical activities for students. 
  6. Communicate with health professionals. Learn how they show leadership within their communities and which programs they support that prevent childhood obesity and encourage improved nutrition, fitness, and wellness. 

 

With our leading edge tools and technologies, we’re upgrading how you experience your choice of coverage.

Stay tuned to our next blog post!

Click here to join our Facebook community for more information about your health and your healthcare coverage.

 

Sources:

1: “September: National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://healthfinder.gov/NHO/SeptemberToolkit.aspx

2: “YCMA Offers Health Tips for Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.” Chicago Tribune. http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/glenview/community/chi-ugc-article-ymca-offers-health-tips-for-childhood-obesity-2017-08-30-story.html

3: “September is National Childhood Obesity Month.” Centers for Disease Control. https://www.cdc.gov/features/childhoodobesity/index.html

 

Fruits and Veggies - More Matters Month

Pack Your Plate for Fruits and Veggies Month

“Eat your spinach!”

“Don’t trade your banana at lunch!”

“Yes, you have to clean your plate. Yes, that includes the Brussels sprouts!”

Most of us heard these messages – or something similar – from our parents when we were kids. Fruits and veggies may not always have been the most tantalizing foods back then (and they still may not be now), but there is no denying that we need lots of them in our diet1.

September is Fruits and Veggies – More Matters Month, an annual celebration that puts the focus not just on eating more fruits and veggies but also on how they can lower our risk2 of:

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Certain cancers
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure

Did you know that…

…a low-fat plant based diet can control and/or reverse3Type 2 diabetes?

…plants are loaded with protein3?

veggies and fruits are packed4 with calcium, iron, and vitamin D, among other nutrients?

leafy greens5 help protect our tissues against free-radical damage, help keep our nerves, brain, and spinal cord healthy,

and help bone marrow make new red blood cells?

fruits and veggies6 are considered nutrient-dense and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourages increased consumption of these plant-based foods?

 

According to the USDA’s Choose My Plate7 program, half your plate of each meal should be fruits and veggies. That may seem like a lot, especially when your diet doesn’t currently meet that recommendation, but here are some tips to help you on your journey to healthier eating:

  • Keep a bowl of fruit on your counter. This keeps it convenient, in your line of sight, and attractive – three qualities that will make it more likely
  • for you to choose a piece of fruit over less healthy options the next time you go to the kitchen.
  • Take a few minutes each week to cut up fruits (or buy bagged frozen options) to store them in convenient – and portable – containers for later use.
    Grab a container when you head out the door each morning.
  • Challenge your loved ones to try a new veggie with you each week.
  • Add (or increase the amount you normally add) veggies to your standard dishes like pasta, soup, or sandwiches.
  • Choose frozen fruit bars (100% fruit – no added sugar) instead of ice cream or yogurt.
  • Add greens to your breakfast smoothie.
  • Replace carbs with vegetables. Instead of making mashed potatoes, make mashed cauliflower.
  • Use lettuce instead of bread for sandwiches and wraps.
  • Make overnight oats and add steamed veggies or fruit to the top.
  • Swap the noodles you typically use for veggie noodles. With a spiralizer, you can make noodles from vegetables such as zucchini and squash.
  • Add carrots, squash, broccoli, kale, or other veggies to your tomato sauce.
  • Slice veggies such as avocados, carrots, or zucchini and bake as fries until crispy.

Looking for a farmers’ market near you for fresh fruits and veggies? Click here8.

Know someone who could use help eating healthy? Click here9 for tips on how to start the conversation:

September is also National Childhood Obesity Month. Click here10 for information on how fruits and veggies can help support healthy growth in children. Click here11 for information on the Salad Bars to Schools project.

 

With our leading edge tools and technologies, we’re upgrading how you experience your choice of coverage.

Stay tuned to our next blog post!

Click here to join our Facebook community for more information about your health and your healthcare coverage.

 

Sources:

1: “Everything You Eat and Drink Matters.” https://www.choosemyplate.gov/variety. United States Department of Agriculture.

2: “September: Fruit & Veggies – More Matters Month.” https://healthfinder.gov/nho/SeptemberToolkit2.aspx. United States Department of Health and Human Services.

3: “What the Health: Facts.” http://www.whatthehealthfilm.com/facts/.

4: “Power Sources.” http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/pplate/power-sources. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

5: “Why Eat Dark, Leafy Greens?” http://doctorklaper.com/answers/answers16/. Dr. Michael Kapler.

6: “More Plants on the Plate.” http://nutritionstudies.org/plants-plate/. T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.

7: “MyPlate.” https://www.choosemyplate.gov/MyPlate. United States Department of Agriculture.

8: “Local Food Directories: National Farmers Market Directory.” https://www.ams.usda.gov/local-food-directories/farmersmarkets. United States Department of Agriculture.

9: “Healthy Eating: Conversation Starters.” https://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/nutrition-and-physical-activity/nutrition/healthy-eating-conversation-starters. United States Department of Health and Human Services.

10: “September is National Childhood Obesity Month.” https://www.cdc.gov/features/childhoodobesity/index.html. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

11: “Salads Bars to Schools.” http://www.saladbars2schools.org/.