September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

As designated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), September is National Childhood Obesity Month.  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.  

Girls hula hooping outdoors

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.  Jump IN is working to change those environments where children learn and grow, from schools to child care providers, to camps and after school programs. 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. 

The matter of childhood overweight and obesity is more urgent than you might think. We know that children with obesity are at greater risk as adults for chronic diseases and the suffering these conditions cause. But children with obesity are even now at higher risk than healthy-weight friends for severe COVID-19 outcomes, such as needing ventilator support. Meanwhile, some adolescents with obesity are at higher risk of death from COVID-19, implicating both obesity itself and the chronic conditions it is linked to, such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Research also demonstrates that low-income and racial and ethnic minority children are at disproportionate risk for childhood obesity. The need to address and reduce childhood obesity is urgent.

Girl eating fruits and vegetables

Actions to take

As part of National Childhood Obesity Month, we encourage you to take action in your own homes.  Jump IN promotes the 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 fruits and vegetables every day, 2 means no more than two hours of recreational screen time, 1 means one hour of physical activity and 0 means zero sugar-sweetened beverages (which includes 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. 

5210 habits every day

Mini Workout of the Week

Dance time! If you spend much time with kids under 12, you are likely familiar with Kidz Bop – here’s a fun and high-intensity singing and dancing video. Hop up and bop with the Kidz!