Childhood Obesity - A Lethal Trend in America

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You undoubtedly have heard about our country's childhood obesity problem.
In children over the age of 6, the statistic are that 17 percent, or over 9 million kids, are considered to be overweight.
Not only are they at higher risk for heart disease and diabetes, but they also may face emotional problems of discrimination and exclusion that continue into their adulthood.
However, there are a number of steps you can take to help your children even if they are not overweight.
This article discusses three lifestyle changes that will make a big difference in your child's life.
The first is changing the types of food you and your family eat in your home.
The second is starting a realistic exercise program and getting the whole family to participate.
The third is getting involved in your in your child's school and community by joining the Healthy Schools Program.
Even though you can't control what your kids eat when they are away, you can provide more healthy foods at home.
Keep healthy foods in your pantry and avoid high fat, high sugar, and high calorie snacks.
Don't just hide them, eliminate them.
Remember that your kids learn more from your example than anything you tell them.
Also never use foods as a reward or punishment because even as adults, your children will still see food as a manipulator.
Make eating a positive experience but not an end unto itself.
Just as with food, your kids will also pick up your attitudes about physical activity.
Don't use the excuse of not being able to afford the health or tennis club to keep you from being active.
Walking or jogging don't' cost anything.
Guided pilates or yoga programs are available on inexpensive CDs and are great family activities during cold months.
Get everyone to participate.
Have a contest to see who can do the most sit-ups or jog in place the longest.
Award a simple prize and keep it fun.
Even a gold star sticker on a chart hung on the refrigerator can be a reward and symbol of pride for a small child.
Free resources for parents like toolkits, newsletters, and phone conferences are available from a non-profit group called The Alliance for Healthy Children.
The purpose of this group is to encourage healthier schools and neighborhoods by getting parents and kids involved.
You can make a difference by raising money for better gym equipment, making sure that vending machines at school dispense fruits and milk instead of chips and sodas, and providing safe hike and biking trails.
Use your imagination.
There are probably a lot of low or no cost ways to improve your children's environment and help the entire community.
As a parent you have to play an active role in preventing childhood obesity.
Change your diet at home and make mealtime a pleasant experience for your kids.
Exercise regularly as a family.
Join The Alliance for Healthy Children and change not only your children's lives, but yours as well.
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