Child obesity is a nationwide epidemic. The good news is as government, state and local officials continue to bring the issue into the spotlight, more actions and platforms are being created. In 2010, the first lady, Michelle Obama, launched “Let’s Move!” It too focuses on providing healthier foods in our schools as well as helping kids become more physically active.
Recently, the CDC reported some progress in the fight against childhood obesity and many states are showing decreases. However, we still have a long way to go. An alarming one in eight preschoolers in the U.S. is obese. Obese children are much more likely to become obese adults which means they are more likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and suffer from other physical and mental problems. So what do we do? The answer is we become good role models for our children.
Molina has been a leader in the community in implementing nutrition/cooking classes for families as well as hosting public events to teach kids to find activities that they enjoy – such as yoga or dance. Let’s do the same and be leaders in our families.
Start by teaching your kids healthy habits for each and every meal:
- Begin each day with a well-balanced breakfast that includes a mix of complex carbohydrates and protein. Trade out that on-the-go pop tart for a bowl of oatmeal topped with fruit or a piece of whole grain toast with peanut butter.
- Pack a brown bag lunch that includes more whole foods like fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods.
- Be creative! Cut foods into fun shapes and foods that they can mix up.
- Make grocery shopping educational. At the grocery store, let your kids select nutritious foods and read food labels together.
- Encourage outdoor activities and plan weekend outings for the family. If kids learn healthy lifestyle habits when they are young, they will more than likely keep them as they mature into adults.
Take a stand against child obesity and lead by example!