Childhood Obesity: An Epidemic That Can’t Be Ignored

Posted on: September 11, 2019

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Here at the Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA, we are committed to providing youth and their families with opportunities for good health and connection with one another through fitness, sports, programming, and educational opportunities. We’re working to change the direction of the course of childhood obesity by partnering with families to support them as they make healthier decisions for their present and future. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shared that nearly 1 in 5 school-age children and young people have obesity. While childhood obesity can be caused by a multitude of different factors, such as genetics, traumatic events, and eating and physical activity behaviors, its danger looms over the youth of our area and beyond. By implementing lifestyle changes and programs that support more nutritious food intake and increased physical activity, we’re taking steps forward toward implementing lasting change. 

While childhood obesity poses physical health threats for children now and into their future, it can extend into other aspects of their lives as well. Childhood obesity can affect things like school performance, self-esteem, and social relationships. Fighting childhood obesity starts with awareness and ends with action. 

Starting at home, you can implement healthy habits into the day-to-day life of your family this September and throughout the year. At the Y, we’re always looking for ways to make healthy habits a priority in the lives of the families and children we serve. With the Y’s 5210 program, we’re outlining an easy-to-remember way to make healthy choices fun. Implementing this program at home can help children live healthy lives and reduce the impact childhood obesity has on our community. 

The 5210 Program: 

5 – Five servings of fruits and vegetables each day: This gives children’s growing bodies the nutrients they need to live healthy lives and grow stronger each day. Make this switch as a family to enjoy time together while trying new meals. 

2 – Two hours or less of screen time each day: Sit less, move more! Too much time spent in front of a screen, whether watching TV, being on the computer, or playing video games, can take away time from necessary physical activities. Use a timer or set boundaries each day for screen time. 

1 – One hour or more of physical activity each day: Get playing and get moving! When the whole family gets involved, physical activity can be something children look forward to even more. Physical activity helps children stay healthy and works to decrease stress, improve sleep, and helps their bones and muscles grow stronger. 

0 – Zero sugary drinks: Instead of drinking sodas, fruit punches, iced teas, and sports or energy drinks strive to make water your family’s drink of choice. Eliminating drinks with added sugar can reduce dental problems like cavities and prevent unwanted weight gain. 

The 5210 program helps children take charge of their health by giving them a kid-friendly way to break down healthy habits. By implementing 5210 ideals into programs like youth sports, nutrition consultations, and camps, we’re working to create an environment at every Y location that supports children and families in the fight against childhood obesity. It’s a challenge nobody has to fight alone. Let’s work together to stop childhood obesity from continuing its path into adulthood.  

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