By Latisha Hull, MPH Candidate—Intern, Public Health Services
September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Childhood obesity is often named one of the most serious health issues of the 21st century. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nearly 1 in 5 school-aged children in the United States is obese. The state of Texas has the nation’s seventh highest childhood obesity rate for young people 10-to-17 years old.
Obesity puts kids at risk for emotional, physical and financial problems during their lifetime. Children and teens who are overweight are more likely to be overweight as adults, which can lead to serious health issues like heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.
Many factors contribute to childhood obesity including a lack of access to nutritious food, minimal physical activity and not enough sleep. There are many ways families can make meaningful changes towards a healthier lifestyle. Here are a few helpful tips to get your family started.
- Build healthy eating patterns by adding more fruits and vegetables to your child’s diet. Invite your kids to help plan or prepare a meal, which can be both fun and informative for them.
- Spend more time outdoors. School-aged kids are recommended to get 60 minutes of physical activity a day, so take a walk or ride bikes as a family. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen and a hat!
- Get your kids to drink more water by limiting sugary drinks. Water has no calories and is essential for overall health.
- Set limits on your kids’ screen time to two hours or less of non-educational screen time each day. This applies to phones, computers, video games and television.
- Schedule annual wellness checks for your child. Discuss any concerns you may have about their overall health with their pediatrician.
Legacy Community Health connects patients to quality health care and caring providers. We also pride ourselves on providing educational resources to our patients. Our patient educators provide counseling on weight management, disease prevention and healthy lifestyle changes. If you would like more information on how to prevent or better manage childhood obesity, talk to your child’s Legacy pediatrician or call (832) 548 5000 to schedule an appointment with one of our patient educators.