You’ve probably heard about it on the news, from your doctor or just from people who you talk to — obesity is a major public health issue in America. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly one out of every five children in the United States are considered obese, and the obesity rate in American children has tripled over the past 30 years.
Children with obesity are more likely to remain so later in life, and obesity at any age is associated with serious medical issues, including high cholesterol, high blood sugar, asthma and mental health problems. September is both Childhood Obesity Month and Fruits and Veggies — More Matters Month, so it’s a great time to assess your child’s health and nutrition habits.
Here are just a few ways you can help support healthy growth in your children:
- Ensure they get adequate sleep and eat the right amount of calories every day
- Substitute high-nutrient, low-calorie foods like fruits and vegetables for high-calorie foods that have added sugars and solid fats
- Provide them with water as a no-calorie alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages
- Encourage them to participate in age-appropriate, enjoyable physical activities that promote aerobic, muscle and bone strength
Healthy habits start when children are young, so it’s important for you to lead by example. And making healthy eating and exercise a family priority provides an opportunity for family bonding. Cooking dinner as a family, starting a home garden or planning a family bike ride are all great ways to get every family member involved in healthy living.
Need help adding fruits and veggies to your meals? Here are some great ways to “get more” throughout your day. And if you’re still not convinced that you and your family need to eat more fruits and vegetables, be sure to check out this list.