September is childhood obesity awareness month. To talk about healthy habits for children, 44News Morning Anchor invited the local YMCA on for Family Matters. She was joined by Dana Sone, a dietitian with the YMCA.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity affects one in six children. This poses greater risks for many health problems like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and some cancers. In Indiana 15% of all children are considered overweight or obese.
Number one rule, parents should make sure they are practicing unhealthy habits at home and to make sure sure kids get easy access to healthy foods. Incorporating play everyday, reducing recreation screen time and sleeping well are also important things to keep in mind to prevent childhood obesity.
Eating healthy means you are eating from all the food groups, which includes fruits, vegetables, protein, grains, and dairy but that you’re also eating each in appropriate portion sizes.
When eating out, families really need to look at menus in more detail and consider the nutritional facts when making choices. For restaurants that they frequent, they should take a second at home to review the menu online to identify healthy choices that are available. Don’t just count calories but consider the fat content and other nutritional value to maintain the right portions of each food groups.
Also something to keep in mind, not all carbs are bad. It’s really processed sugar that families should look out for and avoid. Foods that are shelf-stable often have more added sugars and preservatives compared to natural fruits and vegetables from the produce section. And even things like sodas and sugary sports drinks should be swapped out for water. If kids need a carb boost, carbs coming from natural sources like fruit are a better choice.
Every Tuesday we offer the Tri-State a weekly family challenge. Today’s challenge is to rethink eating out. Next time you visit your favorite restaurant, do a little homework first. Review their menu and nutritional information online with your kids. Let your kids build a new meal from the menu that incorporates all the food groups and has the right nutritional mix. Try this new meal the next time you visit and discover a new and healthier way to eat out. To join along in the challenge, post comments, videos and photos on social media using #WeeklyFamilyChallenge.