Preventing Childhood Obesity September 21, 2017 Jenny MathisFamilies Food and Nutrition Health & Safety No Comments by Jenny Mathis, School Age Specialist As a parent in today’s hurry-up society, I recognize how easy it can be to succumb to unhealthy habits that are responsible for creating an overweight child. For the sake of convenience and budget, we all have all been guilty of these habits. My vice? Swinging by the closest fast food joint when the evening hours fade away after extracurricular events or running errands. At some point in time, most of us have relied on a computer screen to keep a child occupied. It sure makes things easier to handle issues, cook dinner, or just sit down and take a deep breath. If we take time to look at the potential long term effects, it can help families become empowered to make small changes that will make big impacts. OBESITY IS TRENDING UPWARD Statistics says that nearly 1 in 3, or over 30% of Hoosiers are overweight or obese*. Unfortunately, this trend is getting worse, and the numbers are increasing each year. What can you do to make sure that your family is not among these statistics? IDEAS TO KEEP YOUR KIDS ON TRACK Childhood presents an opportunity to instill life- long healthy habits with regards to physical activity and healthy eating. I find these some ideas helpful: Plan meals for the week. Pack healthy snacks for kids in between meals on busy days. Limit screen time. Set aside time for physical activity. Staying active and eating healthy is the key to helping combat this ever growing problem. WALK THE WALK AND TALK THE TALK Do your child and yourself a favor. Role model behaviors. Incorporate healthy behaviors as often as you can. Eat right. Keep moving. Little changes will render big gains. OTHER RESOURCES For more tips, check out these resources: American Heart Association: Top 10 Easy Tips to Help Children Develop Healthy Habits The State of Obesity: Indiana Statistics Jump IN for Healthy Kids Cover image by Flickr user University of Delaware Alumni Relations, Creative Commons license. *Harper, Jake. “Report: Nearly 1 In 3 Hoosiers Obese.” WFYI Public Media, 21 Sept. 2015, www.wfyi.org/news/articles/report-nearly-1-in-3-hoosiers-obese. Accessed 15 Sept. 2017.