Childhood obesity is considered to be a major public health problem because of the recent increase of obesity in children. There are steps that families, providers and communities can take to support healthy growth in children and work to decrease the rate of childhood obesity. Parents are encouraged to be aware of their children’s growth as well as provide healthy meals and be good role models. Providers can monitor body mass index (BMI) and refer families to outside resources such as nutritionist and healthy weight programs. Schools have begun to implement policies and practices that support healthy eating habits and provide students the opportunity to learn more about healthy behaviors. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides funding, training and technical assistance to organizations to help provide obesity prevention efforts.
Three proven strategies outlined by the CDC to decrease childhood obesity are to focus on nutrition, physical activity and breastfeeding. CDC has found that increased access to healthy foods and beverages and increased physical activity can lead to a decrease in childhood obesity. They have implemented various initiatives such as the healthier food retail initiative, and salad bars in schools to increase the access to healthy foods. Additionally, the CDC continues to work on increasing access to physical activity via walking trails and exercise facilities. Lastly, CDC indicates that one of the most highly effective preventative measure a mother can take is to breastfeed their infant. Because of this, the CDC continues to work on providing support for breastfeeding mothers as well as ensure workplace compliance with the Federal Lactation Accommodation Law.
Families, communities and providers can all make a difference and raise awareness for childhood obesity. By doing so, our hope is to decrease the prevalence of childhood obesity and promote healthy living strategies.
By: Kelsey Russell, BSW, MHC Intern
(n.d.). September is National Childhood Obesity Month | Features | CDC. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/features/childhoodobesity/index.html.