NOTE: The following is an excerpt from TeleVox’s Healthy World report, “The Childhood Obesity Epidemic: Poor Health Habits Threaten the Future of America’s Youth”, which exposes the need for more interaction between doctors and parents to combat childhood obesity. Download it HERE!
According to ABC News, Southeastern youngsters are the most likely out of any region to be overweight or obese. This can be attributed in part to Southern comfort foods, which often contain a high amount of calories and saturated fat. It can also be attributed to sedentary lifestyles, which are becoming more prevalent across the entire country. Furthermore, 54 percent of Southerners describe their weight as obese or overweight, a number second only to the Midwest, as reported in the TeleVox Healthy World Report The Obesity Epidemic: Unhealthy Lifestyle Habits Result in a Growing Problem for Americans. If parents are living unhealthy lifestyles, how can we expect children not to follow their example?
Ready for Change
The good news is that Southerners are prepared to do something about the growing childhood obesity problem. As reported by The Childhood Obesity Epidemic: Poor Health Habits Threaten the Future of America’s Youth, 88 percent of Southerners believe that poor diet and exercise habits, and not genetics, are the biggest causes of childhood obesity. And Southerners believe there are ways to work through this. Forty-four percent of Southerners, the highest of any region, said they could do a better job of providing healthy food options for their children. In addition, 42 percent of Southerners, again the highest of any region, said they could do a better job of encouraging their children to exercise.
For many, this is going to require a dramatic change in lifestyle. According to The Childhood Obesity Epidemic, 40 percent of Southerners feel the lack of education for children about healthy eating choices is a significant problem. By putting money and resources into funding programs that educate children about obesity and how to prevent it, Americans will be better preparing children for the future.
Helping Close to Home
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests ways that neighborhoods and communities can help parents reduce the prevalence of obese and overweight youth:
- Provide increased opportunities for physical activity by improving trail systems and creating bike paths, playgrounds, and recreational facilities.
- Increase development of grocery stores and farmers’ markets that provide healthy alternatives at reasonable prices.
- Enhance program resources to help monitor and prevent obesity.
Since The Childhood Obesity Epidemic reported that 62 percent of Southerners believe that childhood obesity is a significant problem in the U.S., it is time to start taking these steps to protect our children and their futures.