September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
As designated by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), September is National Childhood Obesity Month, dedicated to educating children and their families on how to prevent childhood obesity . Nationally, roughly one in five children suffers from obesity. In central Indiana, those numbers are worse. Jump IN for Healthy Kids is focused on changing those numbers and helping children and families lead healthier lives.
Why is this such a problem? The causes of the obesity epidemic are numerous and complex. Food has become highly processed, calorie dense, and “super-sized.” Many families lack access to affordable, healthy food. Children have fewer opportunities to play and be active, as recess and physical education classes have been reduced or cut entirely in schools. Too many kids spend too much time sitting in front of computer screens, tablets or smart phones. Many of them live in neighborhoods that lack safe places to play. The good news is that with the right interventions childhood obesity can be prevented. Jump IN is working to make the environments where children learn and grow, from schools to child care providers, to camps and after school programs, healthier. Jump IN is addressing food access and ensuring that our communities have healthy food options, as well as safe places to walk, bike and play.
As part of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, we encourage you to take action in your own homes and communities. Jump IN promotes the evidence-based 5-2-1-0 concept of healthy habits. It’s a simple, four-step set of behaviors that if you practice every day, should help you maintain a healthy weight. The 5 means you should consume five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, 2 means no more than two hours of recreational screen time (phone, tablet, TV), 1 means one hour of physical activity, and 0 means zero sugar-sweetened beverages (sodas, fruit drinks, and sports drinks). We encourage you to practice these habits daily – as a family, on your own, and in your place of work. You can track your activities with this weekly 5-2-1-0 tracker. And if you need a little inspiration for different kinds of physical activities, check out this calendar which offers 365 different ideas. If your family likes to eat meals out, we have some tips for making healthier choices in restaurants or if you’re shopping in a convenience store, we even have some recommendations for making your purchases as healthy as possible. Poke around in the Hub and see what other tools you find that can help. Many of our resources are in Spanish as well.
In the classroom, child care, or office
If you are a teacher, an early childhood educator, someone interested in employer wellness, a leader of a youth-serving organization, a parent, or just a concerned citizen, we have many tools that can help you. Our Resource Hub is full of flyers, websites, support guides, and other tools that can give you information, ideas for curriculum, family engagement tools, and fun activities that you can do as a family, at work, or in classrooms. Use the search option to narrow your results and don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re looking for something specific that you can’t find.
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In Praise of STARTING!