National childhood obesity awareness month

By Mario J. Paredes

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SOMOS Community Care works with parents and community-based organizations, so every child has the opportunity to grow up healthy and active. September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, which is a good moment to remember that childhood obesity is a serious public health problem that about one in five children (19%) in the U.S. faces.

Obesity puts kids at a higher risk of having many serious health conditions, including asthma, sleep apnea, bone, and joint problems, and type 2 diabetes. Obese children may also have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, putting them at risk for heart disease. In addition to these issues, overweight children may face bullying, which can lead to social isolation, depression, and lower self-esteem.

 

In these pandemic times, the problem exacerbates due to the anxiety that isolation and uncertainty create in children. Since March, SOMOS Community Care has been testing thousands of New Yorkers for COVID-19. We have winessed very closely the effects that this virus has at all levels in society, especially in children who have suffered the consequences on a deeper level because of the lack of interaction with classmates, teachers, family, and friends. For those who have access to a computer and internet, their social time has been reduced to a screen, but it is even worse for those kids without access to technology.

 

The isolation, the disruption of their routine, and the emotions that they absorb from their parents and tutors, such as frustration or concern, build upon anxiety, which many times triggers compulsive eating.

 

How can you help prevent unhealthy eating habits in your child during these challenging times? Here are some tips to support healthy growth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Childhood obesity is a complicated problem, but we can all help be part of the solution. Even small steps like the ones listed above can go a long way in helping to keep your child healthy and active. Now, when most children are at home sharing time with their parents, it is a great time to talk about healthy eating habits and incorporate them into your child’s lifestyle.

 

Children need a balanced diet with food from all three food groups – vegetables and fruit, whole grain products, and protein foods. Eating a variety of foods keeps our meals interesting and flavorful. It is also a key to a healthy diet because each food has a unique mix of nutrients – both macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein, and fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).

 

According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, here are some tips on the best formula to fuel your child’s growth and development:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get your children involved in planning meals and preparing food, and be sure to check out our DASH Nutrition page for more easy-to-follow tips on healthy living!

 

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