Legacy in the News: Challenging childhood obesity

Metro Parent

March 2014

As a mom, pediatric nurse and leader, childhood obesity is a growing problem that is heavy on my heart. Tackling obesity is important to me because for the first time in U.S. history our children may have a shorter lifespan than us, and their grandparents. Kids today aren’t active like their parents and grandparents were, and because of inactivity and poor eating habits kids are now dealing with chronic conditions that may follow them into adulthood.

Two of the best things we can do to help our kids is to encourage them to eat healthier and move more. A recent study from the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shows that the time kids spend being physically active declines as they get older. Only 25% of kids ages 12-15 get an hour of physical activity a day, which is the national physical-activity guideline; while 70% of kids ages 6-11 are participating in an hour of physical activity every day.

Let’s Go! a nationally recognized childhood obesity prevention program based in Maine, has easy tips and fantastic strategies for success that families can use where they live, learn, work and play.

Let’s Go!’s 5-2-1-0 recommendations are simple and easy to remember:

  • Aim for 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day
  • Aim for 2 or less hours of recreational screen time every day
  • Aim for 1 hour or more of physical activity every day
  • Aim for 0 drinks with added sugar every day

Families who would like to get a fresh start on healthier habits may get support from the Children's Diabetes and Endocrine Center at Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel by taking the Fresh Start class. Each class includes healthier living and nutrition tips by a registered dietician, active time to learn about movement and activity and cooking demonstrations. Learn more and register for the Fresh Start by visiting legacyhealth.org/classes.

Read Mady Murrey’s column on childhood obesity on page 40.

Contact: Maegan Vidal.