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!
Healthy, and non-healthy, food choices have consequences. When Americans eat healthy, our body runs like a well-oiled machine. Unfortunately, when we put the wrong types of food in our body, and don’t exercise on top of that, we face issues. These can run from obesity, to sleepless nights, or even significant ailments, such as heart disease. Teaching children healthy lifestyle habits must be a concern of adults in all regions. However, according to The Childhood Obesity Epidemic: Poor Health Habits Threaten the Future of America’s Youth, 67 percent of Westerners, the most of any region, feel that childhood obesity is a significant problem in the U.S.
It is well known that obesity contributes to many health conditions. The United States Center for Health Affairs reports overweight and obese children face numerous health conditions because of the excess weight they carry on their bodies. Chronic conditions including diabetes, asthma and certain types of cancer predominately affect adults; however, in recent years, more and more children have been diagnosed with these diseases.
Ready and Willing
The good thing is that Westerners are ready and willing to take the steps necessary to combat these unhealthy issues. As reported by The Childhood Obesity Epidemic, 27 percent of Westerners feel that text messages with personalized tips from doctors between visits could help manage their children’s weight. Additionally, looking at the diet that we are feeding our children can assist in this fight. Thirty-four percent of Westerners said they could do a better job of providing healthy food options for their children, and 31 percent of Westerners said they could do a better job of encouraging their children to exercise.
Many Westerners believe that healthy food options, and the exercise that children get, are the keys to combating childhood obesity. Ninety percent of Westerners, second most to Midwesterners, feel that diet and exercise and not genetics are the keys to childhood obesity. Unfortunately, 38 percent of Westerners do not feel that youth have the proper education about healthy eating choices, making it a significant problem in the U.S.
In addition to turning to healthcare providers for answers, children can also benefit from curriculum that aids in helping them make healthy choices. The Leadership for Healthy Communities, an organization dedicated to advancing support for healthy eating and active living, reports three steps to help children control their weight by increasing access to healthy foods and incorporating nutrition into school curriculum:
- Ensure that students have appealing, healthy food and beverage choices in schools.
- Support farm-to-school and school garden programs.
- Implement a standards-based health education program taught by teachers certified specifically in health education.
Incorporating these steps into our children’s everyday lives will help win the fight against childhood obesity, both in the West and across the nation.