Childhood obesity rates fall in US

For decades the number of obese children in the U.S. has been on the rise. Lower-income children are at the highest risk of developing obesity, and currently one in eight preschoolers in the U.S. are obese. Data released earlier this week by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that for the first time in decades the number of lower-income obese children is starting to fall in 19 U.S. states and territories. Obesity rates remained the same in 21 states and territories, increased in 3 states, and 9 states did not participate in the research.

What does this data mean? It means that people are starting to figure out that it matters what we feed our children. “Many of the states in which we’re seeing declines have taken action to incorporate healthy eating and active living into children’s lives,” says Janet Collins, doctor, and director of the CDC’s division of nutrition, physical activity, and nutrition, “we must continue to strengthen and expand proven strategies that help our children live healthier lives.” These small shifts downward in obesity rates, between 1% and 2%, may seem insignificant but are really the first steps in possibly seeing obesity rates level out in the U.S.

The data’s results are encouraging but there’s still a lot of work to be done. suggests these 5 tips to help prevent childhood obesity:

 1) Play Outside- It is suggested that all children spend 1-2 hours a day doing some physical activity. Playing outside is encouraged whenever possible.

 2) Turn Off The T.V.- Children under 2 years in age shouldn’t be exposed to any T.V. at all, and parents of children over 2 should try to limit their child’s daily T.V. intake to 30 minutes.

 3) Eat Right- Cut out the fried foods for your kids and replace them with fruits and vegetables available at every meal.

 4) Drink Right- Cut out sugary drinks. Regularly offer water to your child throughout the day, and at every meal.

 5) Breastfeed if You Like- Breastfeeding can be a great way to provide nutrients to your newborn. Acceptance of all new parents infant feeding decisions is encouraged.

The ability to manage your child’s daily food intake can be a challenge for a multitude of reasons. Inadequate knowledge of what’s considered healthy food, a lack of available high quality produce, or a school district that doesn’t offer well balanced meals are all contributing factors to the childhood obesity epidemic in the U.S. The burden to battle childhood obesity must be shared between policy makers and parents. Parents have to provide children with healthy foods and beverages at home, but schools and day care programs need to pick up the slack and provide children with healthy, square meals. Parents need to take their children to parks, but government officials need to plan and build parks parents can take their children to.  After all, it does take a community to raise a child.

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