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Raising Healthier Kids Takes A Village

7/6/2016, 11:54 a.m. | Updated on 7/6/2016, 11:54 a.m.
According to letsmove. gov, over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one ...
First Lady Michelle Obama and Rachael Ray look at the “Let’s Move! Cafeteria Cook Off” kick off competition trophy on display at Eastside and Northside Elementary Schools in Clinton, Miss., Feb. 27, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Raising Healthier Kids Takes A Village

Editorial

According to letsmove. gov, over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children are overweight or obese. The numbers are even higher in African American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40% of the children are overweight or obese. If these statistics aren’t motivation enough to get kids moving, then maybe an analysis of the end result might be a pause for cause. If nothing is done to solve the problem, letsmove.gov reports that one third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives.

Many others will face chronic obesity related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma, all of which are life-threatening illnesses. Changes in lifestyle over the years have only compounded the problem, the website further reports.

“Thirty years ago, most people led lives that kept them at a healthy weight. Kids walked to and from school every day, ran around at recess, participated in gym class, and played for hours after school and before dinner. Meals were home-cooked with reasonable portion sizes and there was always a vegetable on the plate. Eating fast food was rare and snacking between meals was an occasional treat. Today, children experience a very different lifestyle. Walks to and from school have been replaced by car and bus rides. Gym class and after-school sports have been cut; afternoons are now spent with TV, video games, and the internet. Parents are busier than ever and families eat fewer home cooked meals. Snacking between meals is now commonplace.” In addition to that, portion sizes have exploded and are now, “two to five times bigger than they were in years past,” while on the average, Americans are consuming, “fifteen more pounds of sugar a year than they did in 1970.”

Launched by the First Lady, Let’s Move has had an impact on children nationwide. As one of her most important initiatives, it’s changing how people think, eat and live. Dedicated to solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation so that children born today will grow up healthier with the ability to pursue their dreams, Let’s Move combines comprehensive strategies by taking a common sense approach. Since its inception, it’s put a growing number of children on the path to a healthy future during their earliest months and years. The program also provides parents with helpful information and fosters environments that support healthy choices. Through the program, the First Lady has promoted healthier foods in schools, worked to ensure every family has access to healthy, affordable food and she’s been instrumental in helping children to become more physically active.

The alarming statistics and the end results of obesity are no doubt, bad news. But the good news is Let’s Move gets everyone involved. From parents to schools to kids, to healthcare providers and others, each person plays a vital role in securing a healthier lifestyle for children.