September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

One is 3 American children is overweight or obese. Their weight can wreak havoc on their health. Some children are now showing signs of health problems once thought to only affect adults, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. It can affect not only their physical health, but their emotional health, as well. Children with obesity face more bullying and stigma than their slimmer counterparts.

As we often carry habits with us from childhood to adulthood, we must strive to convert children’s bad habits into healthier habits in order to both prevent and reduce obesity. Obese children are likely to become obese adults. By encouraging healthy habits in childhood, we can take a step toward reducing childhood obesity, and possibly adult obesity.

How can you help? You don’t have to be a parent, educator, doctor, or lawmaker to help. Anybody can get involved in being part of the solution. Here’s how:

  • Be a positive role model. Eat well and exercise. Your children, nieces or nephews, and neighbors will see you.
  • Get involved with activities with kids: be a coach, play basketball at the park, or start a game of family football during a holiday get together.
  • Encourage high nutrient, lower calorie foods in place of high calorie, low nutrient foods. Try fresh fruit salad for dessert or snack.
  • Encourage water over soda or other sugary beverages.
  • Encourage healthy eating habits at school by packing a nutritious lunch, or discussing which school lunch option is the best choice each day.
  • Ensure that schools and educators are encouraging healthy snacks and adequate time for physical activity.
  • Do not use food as a reward.

While September may be the month designated to highlight the need for more action and education to help children lead healthier lives, it doesn’t have to end in September. We can work on it all year long. However large or small, each thing we do to encourage healthier eating and activity in children is positive. Try to challenge yourself to dig deeper and do more for our children each day. They are our future, and we should all try to make it a bright one.

This above is offered by Dr. Shillingford, M.D., P.A., a board certified surgeon specializing in laparoscopic and obesity surgery, including gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band surgery. Dr. Shillingford’s bariatric surgery patients come from all over South Florida, including Boca Raton, Miami, Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and as far away as Orlando and New York. Dr. Shillingford’s gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients have the potential to serve as excellent role models as they already incorporate small portions, healthy foods, low calorie beverages, and physical activity into their daily lives.