Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fighting Childhood Obesity: A Month for Awareness, A Fight for a Lifetime

October is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. This is a topic near and dear to my heart. As a group fitness instructor and a bit of a gym rat, I am constantly aware of and fighting the global obesity epidemic. And we all know that healthy kids equals a healthy future (was any else very alarmed by yet also not surprised by Wall-E's plot?).

Some alarming statistics:
Nearly 20 percent (19.6) of the nation's kids ages 6-11 were considered obese in 2008 (up from 6.5 percent in 1980), while 18.1 percent of 12- to 19-year-olds were obese in 2008, up from just 5 percent in 1980. In our own state more than a third of our kids are either obese or overweight. And these statistics don't account for the fact that many parents under-report their child's weight, which skews the statistics to the low-end of the spectrum.

Now that we've scared you, let's talk brass-tacks. Afterall, this is the First Lady's cause. There have to be resources out there.

I recently learned of the iPhone applications from Michelle Obama's campaign to fight childhood obesity (yeah, there's an app for that). To see them all, click here. These applications are diverse. Some of them help you plan healthy meals and snacks, and some of them are games to teach your kids healthy lifestyles through fun. Your kids probably already love your iPhone. Give them "healthy games" to play!

If you need help getting going, there really aren't any excuses. Two of my favorite ideas help you get on bikes -- The Durham Bike Co-Op and the Recyclery. These two places serve a mission to get families moving and I love it! Biking is a great family activity (especially with the American Tobacco Trail in our backyard).

There is also a blog based here in the Triangle that I have been enjoying, GetGoingNC. While not geared towards families, and with a lot of information on adventure sports that I couldn't imagine taking C on, I still feel inspired when I read this blog. And I also appreciate the posts on kids he does provide (this is the source of our TACO re-post).

Let's talk other general online resources we like that will help and encourage you and your kids to get active. We have already mentioned the websites Kaboom and Goby. But the place to stop to learn about and fight Childhood Obesity is http://www.letsmove.gov/. I like the Action Plans page, where you can navigate to the section and the action items that fit you.

We at MiCHill also appreciate and understand the need to feed kids healthy, too. But we'll focus on that later in the month. Right now, we're encouraging you to use this fall weather and get your kids active!

Our own humble blog also tries to help you with ideas to get out and about. We continue to cover playgrounds and also indoor playgyms. There are fitness classes for you, too, so parents, let's make sure we don't use the fact that we have children as an excuse to neglect our own health. Let's all lead by example. Use this month, the fall weather that really rejuvenates us all, and get out and moving with that family of yours!

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