Now that school is in full swing, AltaMed wants to ensure your child is consuming the right foods to remain happy and healthy in the classroom. Whether it’s playing games with their classmates or dedicating time to complete homework, we always want to ensure our children make the right choices. This includes making the right decisions for their health, as childhood obesity is a problem within the United States.
September is National Childhood Obesity Prevention Month and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in five school-aged children (ages 6-19) have obesity. Childhood obesity has immediate and long-term effects on physical, social and emotional health of children. Including:
- Health conditions and diseases such as asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, type 2 diabetes and risk factors for heart disease.
- Chances of being bullied or teased, as well as social isolation, depression and lower self-esteem.
- Possibility of being obese as an adult
Here are a few ways to ensure your child is receiving the proper exercise and nutrients to live a healthy life.
- Be Active: It’s hard to pull your child away from their beloved video games and cell phones, but sometimes they need to enjoy the fresh air! Take your child to the park and let them explore. This provides the opportunity to release some built-up energy and reduce stress levels. This also is a way for children to meet new friends and practice their social skills, face-to-face.
- Encourage Healthy Eating Habits: We all know that children are tempted by junk food. Give your child snacks filled with fiber and nutrients, such as fruits, vegetables and nuts. Try carrots and hummus dip, celery or apples and peanut butter, or even frozen grapes (which is a yummy snack for the summer and fall).
- Be a Role Model: Show your children that physical activity and healthy eating habits have great benefits like strengthening bones, decreasing blood pressure and increasing self-esteem. Go outside and play soccer or basketball with them. You can even do something not so competitive, like play jump rope or hula-hoop!
AltaMed takes childhood obesity seriously, which is why we will continue beyond September to find the education and resources to help improve our community members’ lives. We have programs such as STOMP to empower children (ages 2-18) and their families to set healthy habits. Additionally, AltaMed participates in the Healthy Communities, Healthy Lives initiative, which encourages local businesses and grocery stores to provide healthy options to their customers.