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National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

In 2010, President Obama declared September as National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. As summer fades to fall, Community Health Center, Inc. is starting the new school year with the Recess Rocks® campaign to engage children and young teens in the fight against childhood obesity. When there are more calories consumed than burned, the body can store these calories as fat, over time leading to obesity.  A person needs to approach each end of the equation (eating healthy + proper exercise) in an individual way to solve the problem.  A great way to increase activity and burn calories is through programs like Recess Rocks®! Bringing Recess Rocks® into your child’s school day is just one mouse click away. (http://recessrocks.com/)

Over the past thirty years, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. Just sixty minutes of active movement each day makes a gigantic difference to a child’s health. Exercise and fitness not only improves a kid’s self–esteem, it also reduces stress, promotes strong bones, and helps children get a good night sleep.

Are you or your family at risk for Obesity?

Obesity is an imbalance between calories in food and drink and calories burned (exercise and daily activity). Obesity can be defined as excess body fat. Since body fat is difficult to measure, obesity is often measured by body mass index (BMI). BMI measures weight in relation to height and while it is not a perfect indicator of obesity (especially when it comes to kids), it is a valuable tool for public health. To test a teen or child’s Body Mass index, use the calculator and follow the guidelines. (http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/dnpabmi/)

What can cause Obesity?

Genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors can lead to obesity among children. Here are some top contributors:

  • Less walking and more car and bus rides
  • Larger portion sizes
  • More time spent on computers, video games, and TV
  • Routine snacking before meals
  • Higher calorie foods
  • Large decline in physical activity

Serious medical conditions caused by Childhood Obesity:

There are medical issues that can develop if a child is overweight and nothing is done to help. The main concerns for increased risk in the child’s future include:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • High blood pressure
  • Asthma

Ways to prevent and manage Obesity:

Everyone has a role to play in preventing and undoing the damage of childhood obesity whether you are a parent, teacher, coach, doctor, or just looking to lend a helping hand. Here are some tips that have been found effective:

  • Include a lot of fruits, vegetables and whole–grain products in the daily meals
  • Reduce the size of meal portions
  • Encourage children to drink water
  • Reduce the consumption of saturated fat (fat meat, processed meat, bacon, sausages, egg yolks, butter, cream, ice cream, cakes, chocolate etc.) and sugar
  • Reduce sugar–sweetened beverages
  • No more than 2 hours per day of TV, video games
  • Educate children on what it actually means to live a healthy and active lifestyle
  • Make exercise fun

For more information on eating right and staying active for kids, visit http://www.54321go.org/index.html. The website is filled with healthy snack recipes, active games, and multiple print outs for parents and kids to stay on track when it comes to healthy living!

Recess really does ROCK!

Research has shown that during the average school day, recess is the most important resource for kids to get their daily dose of exercise and physical movement. Recess Rocks® program delivers twenty to thirty minutes of fun, dynamic movement to a student’s day and contributes to their motivation of being healthy and staying fit. Parents should take advantage of this program and find ways to incorporate Recess Rocks® into their children’s schooldays. The enthusiastic instructors use dance–inspired, choreographed programs during recess or in the classroom that help young students get an enjoyable amount of fitness built into their day.

Childhood Obesity is growing at an alarming rate and the more people are informed, the more aware families and communities can be to tackle this problem now to save children from health complications in the future. President Obama is encouraging all Americans to take action by learning about and engaging in activities that promote healthy eating and greater physical activity by all our Nation's children.