SEPTEMBER IS NATIONAL CHILDHOOD OBESITY AWARENESS MONTH, and the Department of Health in Charlotte County is encouraging parents to involve their kids in meal or snack prep. — September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and the Department of Health in Charlotte County is encouraging parents to involve their kids in meal or snack prep.
It said unhealthy snacking is a big contributor to childhood obesity.
"Childhood obesity is very prevalent in the U.S., impacting about one in every five children, or 19 percent," Abbey Ellner, the Program Administrator for the Department of Health in Charlotte County, said.
She said kids who are obese are at higher risk for long-term health conditions like asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, and type 2 diabetes.
Ellner said swapping out unhealthy treats and sugary drinks for fruits, vegetables, and water is one easy way to support your kids in their journey to good health.
The Department of Health in Charlotte County teaches the "5-2-1-0 Program" to Second and Third Graders to combat childhood obesity.
"It stands for five fruits and vegetables a day, two hours or less of screen time, one hour physical activity, and zero sugary drinks or sugar sweetened beverages," Ellner said.
She said including your child in snack or meal prep is key.
"Involving them in the kitchen, helping prepare meals and teaching them about how different foods impact their health, being a positive role model when it comes to healthy eating and physical activity, and letting kids know that their health and well being are important, are key components to establishing healthy habits," Ellner said.
She said kids who prepare a meal are more likely to try new foods. It also creates a way for parents to bond with their kids and make new memories, which reduces the chances of kids engaging in risky behaviors and having long-term health issues.
The Department of Health in Charlotte County said it's going to take a group effort between parents, schools and the community to introduce kids to healthy foods.