Four Ways to STEP UP Childhood Obesity Prevention

National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month kicks off in September and now’s the time to step up childhood obesity prevention. But why do we need an entire month dedicated to this issue? Sadly, America’s childhood obesity epidemic is growing at an astonishing rate, with more than 31% of today’s adolescents considered obese or overweight. Although Colorado is considered the healthiest state in the nation for adults, the same cannot be said for its younger residents. According to a 2011 study conducted by The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America, 10.9% of individuals between the ages of 10 and 17 in Colorado are considered obese. Even more astonishingly, the study found the childhood obesity rate in Arizona to be higher, with 19.8% of children in the same age group reportedly obese.

Learn four ways you can step up obesity prevention for National Obesity Awareness Month. The long-term effects of childhood obesity carry over into adulthood and can severely impact the quality of life for those affected. In fact, children and adolescents who are obese are at a greater risk of being overweight or obese as they enter adulthood. This increases the risk of developing health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, many types of cancer, and osteoarthritis later in life. Most frighteningly, many of the health effects of childhood obesity can be felt immediately, with 70% of obese youth possessing one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

At Healthy LifeStars, we are committed to combatting childhood obesity through our proven program, The LifeStar Challenge. Every year, thousands of children throughout Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada benefit from The LifeStar Challenge; we hope to reach even more kids this year. Our program is only one element of our effort to eliminate childhood obesity. Raising awareness and providing education about childhood obesity are also vital to our mission.

With September marking National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, now’s the time for everyone—including you—to STEP UP and play an important role in childhood obesity prevention and awareness. Check out these 4 ways to take action.

1. Educate and motivate others to STEP UP against childhood obesity

By becoming more aware of the staggering statistics surrounding childhood obesity, you can be part of the solution. Follow us online on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to receive the latest studies and statistics about childhood obesity. Then, take action by supporting our STEP UP 4 KiDS Walkathon. Sign up to log your steps for an entire week—October 16-23—and encourage others to join with you. As you raise funds to support our proven program, The LifeStar Challenge, you’ll also be helping make others aware of the alarming childhood obesity epidemic that demands our attention and our action.

2. Support childhood obesity prevention efforts

When it comes to combatting childhood obesity, prevention is key. Promoting healthy eating habits, increasing physical activity, and establishing a positive body image are all simple steps that parents, teachers, and coaches can take to prevent this epidemic from growing even more out of hand. Research shows that children who are obese face a multitude of physical issues as well as psychological problems, including poor self-esteem and stigmatization.

While parents assume the primary responsibility for instilling the importance of healthy choices and an active lifestyle in their kids, schools and afterschool programs also play an integral role in the battle against childhood obesity. By building a supportive environment that focuses on improving and promoting overall health, school and afterschool programs, like The LifeStar Challenge, provide kids with opportunities to not only learn about, but also practice healthy habits that incorporate fun and fitness.

What can you do in your community to support or introduce programs like The LifeStar Challenge that work to fight childhood obesity?

3. Lead by example

We’ve all been there—gobbling down at-our-finger-tips processed foods rather than whole, “clean” healthy choices. With busy work schedules, good intentions quickly go out the window. Whether you are a parent, a teacher, or a neighbor, you can set a good example for our youngest generation by making healthy choices every day. Rather than indulge in a fifth cup of coffee or afternoon soda, choose water. Healthy eating choices are not just limited to what you eat—you also need to keep in mind how and when you eat. This article offers 9 tips on breaking bad eating habits.

And let’s not forget about fitting regular exercise into your routine. Starting your day with a walk, run, or workout can be a great way to lead by example before your kid, or the kid next door who is taking notes, rolls out of bed. You’ll be cooling down and heading off to shower as they wake up and realize you have just gotten a jump start—literally—on a healthy, active day.

Do you always have wine on Wednesdays or go out to a movie on the weekend? What about ordering pizza on Fridays? While those traditions are fun, creating healthy habits can be much more rewarding for you and our youngest generation. Why not make participating in our STEP UP 4 KiDS Walkathon part of your healthy habits? Kids 17 and under participate for free and adult participation only costs $25, for what’s sure to be one of the most active weeks of your life.

Whether eating, working out, or creating fun traditions, you set an example for kids, so take your role seriously.

4. Give your time, talent, or treasure to fighting childhood obesity

Everyone has a gift to contribute to the battle against childhood obesity. Whether you are a talented chef with healthy recipes to share, a passionate fitness professional ready to motivate our youngest generation to move, or a volunteer looking to get involved with an organization that makes a difference, you can STEP UP against childhood obesity in meaningful ways.

Step-Up-4-Kids_logo_Digital_FINAL-nobackgroundHealthy LifeStars is always looking for support—through donations, your time, or your talent. So whether you want to participate in our STEP UP 4 KiDS Walkathon, donate an item for us to auction off at our annual celebration fundraiser event on November 9th, bring The LifeStar Challenge to a community near you, serve on a committee or advisory board, or make a monetary donation, your contribution will help fight childhood obesity. Contact us today to help ensure our kids grow up healthy and active!

 


 

 

photo credit: Girl on Stairs via photopin (license)

By | 2017-03-14T18:30:25-07:00 August 19th, 2016|Blog, Obesity Information|0 Comments

Limit Screen Time, Reduce Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is increasing as screen time increases. Learn the risk factors and how to make sure children grow up healthy and active. The digital age has its advantages. Yet, our children, who have never known a life without iPhones and tablets at their disposal, are at greater risk of obesity, learning disabilities, social engagement issues, and more because of it.

The Weight Of Too Much Screen Time

While these side effects of screen time are cause for concern, equally important to note is that as screen time has gone up in the US, so, too, have childhood obesity rates. From 1980 to 2012, obesity rates among US children ages 6-11 more than doubled while obesity rates among US adolescents ages 12-19 more than quadrupled during the same time period, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Not coincidentally, there has been an increase of more than 2.5 hours spent in front of a screen during the past decade.

According to research gathered by the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC), they found that children consume an additional 167 calories for every hour of television viewed per day. While diet and physical activity are directly correlated with the overall health and wellbeing of school-age children, extracurricular activities and hobbies—including time spent in front and away from digital devices—are clearly key factors in reducing and preventing the escalation of childhood obesity.

Studies suggest that young children who spend a limited amount of time watching television not only tend to make healthier meal choices, but also are more likely to engage in physical activity at home as well as in school.

In small doses, tablets and educational television programs can help children develop coordination, improve reflexes, and enhance language skills, among other things. However, it’s important to encourage children to live an active lifestyle away from the virtual world.

How much screen time is safe?

Unfortunately, there’s no secret number. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting screen time to 1 to 2 hours per day for children ages 2 and older. However, this article posted on CNN.com makes a valid argument that “recreational” screen time should be limited and that two hours per day is no longer realistic.

What do you think? We would love to hear your thoughts about screen time and its impact on childhood obesity. Please comment below.

 

photo credit: iPhone work via photopin (license)

By | 2017-03-14T18:30:25-07:00 August 17th, 2016|Blog, Obesity Information|0 Comments

Childhood Obesity Linked to Cancer, Stroke in Adulthood

Childhood obesity has been linked to colon cancer and stroke in early adulthood. Learn how you can help end the epidemic. As you likely know, Healthy LifeStars focuses on reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity through our proven program, The LifeStar Challenge.  Understanding the realities of childhood obesity are critical as we aim to draw attention to and support for our work — we know that good fitness, nutrition, and goal-setting habits early in life can reduce a child’s risk of developing obesity. But why is it so important to combat childhood obesity?

Jane E. Brody of The New York Times brings much-needed attention to the childhood obesity epidemic in her blog post, “The Urgency in Fighting Childhood Obesity,” by shedding light on the harsh realities and life-threatening risks obesity places on our children and their health. Several studies that Brody cites in her piece outline new risk factors associated with childhood obesity, including:

  • An increased risk of developing colon cancer
  • An increased risk of experiencing a stroke in early adulthood

Read Brody’s complete blog post about childhood obesity and share the post with others. The more people who understand the urgency in fighting childhood obesity, the better the likelihood that people will take preventative measures—like supporting proven obesity prevention programs like The LifeStar Challenge—to ensure our youngest generation grows up healthy and active.

 

By | 2017-03-14T18:30:25-07:00 July 22nd, 2016|Blog, Obesity Information|0 Comments

Childhood Obesity has Tripled in the Past 30 Years

Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years and the percentage of children ages 6–11 years in the U.S. who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 20% in 2008.  The percentage of adolescences ages 12–19 years who were obese, has increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.  In 2008, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or considered obese.

What is the Definition of Over Weight

Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or any combination of these factors.  Obesity itself is defined as having excess body fat. Overweight and obesity are usually the result of an excessive “caloric imbalance,” for example, too few calories burned for the amount of calories consumed.  Obesity can also be influenced by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors.

Original Article

 

By | 2013-01-02T17:59:17-07:00 November 23rd, 2012|Blog, Obesity Information|0 Comments