(CARLSBAD, CA) – Gigantic portion sizes, sugary sodas, vending machine snacks, fast food, television, video games, sedentary lifestyles…all of these contribute to the obesity rate among American children. And the expanding waistlines of America’s youth are a super-sized problem.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one-third of U.S. children are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight. In the past 20 years, obesity rates have doubled among children and body fat percentage has almost tripled among preschoolers.
What’s the big deal about carrying around a few extra pounds? The American Medical Association (AMA) reports that heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are becoming prevalent in younger bodies. Adult onset diabetes is no longer a disease among adults; it’s running rampant in overweight youth. Current AMA estimations predict that one in three children will be diabetic by the time they reach adulthood.
A few small changes in your family’s daily lifestyle can protect your children from these weight-related maladies. Judi Sheppard Missett, founder and CEO of Jazzercise, Inc., offers several suggestions for battling the obesity epidemic in your home:
- Include your kids in active household chores, such as walking the dog, pulling weeds, or watering the lawn.
Eat out less often. Minimize trips to fast-food joints or other restaurants.
Turn off the television during mealtimes to prevent mindless munching. Try sitting down together as a family for one meal per day.
- Be a role model. Eat fewer snacks and spend less time in front of the television and computer.
Eliminate sugar-sweetened drinks from your home. Switch from soda to milk.
Try creative strength-training activities. Even young tots can pull on a tug-of-war rope or stretch a resistance band.
Limit your kids’ television, video game, and computer time.
Stock your kitchen with healthy choices. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables at the grocery store instead of convenience foods.
Experiment with different outdoor activities. Take walks, go swimming, ride bikes, or play an old-fashioned game of kick-the-can. Anything that gets the body moving is beneficial.
Try non-food rewards. Go to the bowling alley or visit your local park instead of taking your child for ice cream when she earns an “A” on her report card.
Diabetes should not be a rite of passage for children as they grow into adults. The decisions you make today may add years to your child’s life, not to mention an enhanced quality of life. Incorporate just one or two changes at a time, and the next thing your kids will super-size is their amount of active play.
Jazzercise, created by Judi Sheppard Missett, is the world's leading dance-fitness program with more than 7,500 instructors teaching 32,000 classes weekly in the U.S. and around the globe. Since 1969, millions of people of all ages and fitness levels have reaped the benefits of this comprehensive program, designed to enhance cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.