Childhood Obesity Rates Slowing, but Still Rising
University of California, Davis released their findings, based on research from state-mandated physical fitness testing, and found that while obesity is on the rise, it is slowing down. Between 2003 and 2008 there has been a six percent jump in the number of students achieving a healthy fitness level in all testing categories. UC Davis has determined that the youngest students are of the most concern. Incoming fifth graders are heavier each year and are increasing the national average more than any other age.
The issue however, is students only begin testing in fifth grade, so the obesity problems may be taking root much earlier. Schools can’t keep track of children’s fitness levels in those earlier years. Because of this, these early years of health and fitness must become the parents’ responsibilities.
So what can parents do to keep their kids healthy·
• Follow MyPyramid at MyPyramid.gov to be sure your child is eating the suggested proportions and getting the nutrition they need.
• Check food labels and nutrition info. Replace high sugar, fatty items, for an alternative healthier, protein rich food.
• Sit down together for meals often and promote healthy eating habits at the table.
• Encourage physical activity. Try walking to the store instead of driving or a trip to the local park.
While schools do mandate students in grades 1-6 to have 200 minutes of physical activity per every ten days of school, this is not enough to keep our kids healthy. These years are the most crucial in preventing obesity and must become the parents’ focus. Encouraging healthy habits early will lead to healthier habits later in life. With parents watching their children’s diet and promoting physical activity, we can reverse the climbing obesity trend.