Childhood obesity has immediate and long-term effects on health and well-being. Studies show that children that are overweight or obese are more likely to be at risk for cardiovascular disease, including high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Obese children are also more likely to at risk of developing type 2 prediabetes and be at greater risk for developing bone and joint problems, sleep apnea and experience issues with poor self-esteem. Long-term, children and teens who are obese are likely to be obese as adults and more susceptible to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and osteoarthritis.
Healthy lifestyle habits, including making healthier food choices and increasing physical activity, can help reduce the risk of childhood obesity and other related diseases. As a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility the YMCA of Central Ohio offers the following tips to help families in Central Ohio incorporate regular physical activity and healthy eating into their lives.
Eat Healthy: Make water the drink of choice (supplemented by 100 percent fruit juices and low-fat milk) and have fruits and vegetables available at every meal. Snack time should include foods that contain whole grains and lean protein instead of saturated and trans fats.
Play Every Day/Go Outside: Kids and adults should have at least an hour a day of unstructured play outside (when possible) with children having a goal to obtain 300 minutes of physical activity per week. Just starting out, start small with 10 to 20 minutes at a time.
Get Together: At least once a day families should dine together, with kids involved in meal preparation and clean up. In addition, adults should spend one-on-one time each day with their kids.
Reduce Screen Time: Time spent in front of a television, computer, cell phone and video game should be limited to two hours per day.
Sleep Well: Kids and adults need to keep a regular sleep schedule—10-12 hours per night for kids and seven to eight hours for adults.
For more information on how your family can live a healthy, active life, visit ymcacolumbus.org/health-well-being-fitness