September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Let's protect our kids from the health risk of obesity.
September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Obesity affects millions of American children and teenagers. Excess weight puts our children and teenagers at risk for serious health problems. As parents, we all want to protect our children. The good news is that there is lot that we can to do protect them from the health risk of obesity. We at the ONIE team have some tips. These tips are good advice for all of us. First and foremost it is about health, not weight. A healthy lifestyle gives us energy, helps us just feel good, and over time we have fewer serious diseases like diabetes, cancer, asthma, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Plus, we build stronger families when we do healthy activities together.
Tip #1. Get Moving.
Engage in physical activity at least five days a week: a total of 60 minutes of active play for children, 30 minutes of activity for adults. The key word is active. Playing basketball on the playground, taking walks, hula-hooping, and riding bicycles are all great ways to be active. ONIE has tips on making your own hula hoop for as little as $2 each.
Tip #2. Limit Screen Time.
Most kids have too much screen time. Watching TV and movies, playing video games, and surfing the web are all screen time. One to two hours per day of screen time is the limit. Limiting screen time has many benefits. We have more time to be active, do homework, and just spend time together. ONIE tips to reduce screen time include not turning the TV right when you get home and not eating in front of the TV.
Tip #3. Beware of Beverages.
Cutting sugary drinks out of your child's diet (and your own) can reduce calories. Sweetened drinks and fruit drinks offer nothing except sugar and calories. ONIE tips are to drink more water and 100% percent fruit juices. Water is sugar free, calorie free, and keeps your body hydrated. Squeezing a lemon or other fruit into a glass of water can add flavor and nutrients. 100% fruit juice add calories but it also has vitamins and nutrients.
Tip #4. Eat Breakfast.
Breakfast gives a kick-start for the day. It provides the fuel for children and adolescents’ brains so they can focus and learn. If your morning is busy, grab and go with yogurt and trail mix or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole grain bread. A bowl of cereal is quick and nutritious. Choosing cereals that are right for your family is easy if you follow these ONIE guidelines: 10 grams or less of sugar and 3 grams or more of fiber. Look for cereals with whole grain listed as the first ingredient. 1% low-fat milk is refreshing and goes great with cereal.
Tip #5. Eat together.
When families eat together, they tend to eat healthier meals -- less fried foods and more vegetables. Remember ONIE Tip #2? It counts here, too. When families watch TV while eating, even if you're all sitting together at the dinner table, the nutritional quality of the meal takes a nosedive, so turn off the tube and spend time with each other. Karla and the ONIE Team