Obesity rates have more than doubled among children and quadrupled in adolescents over the last 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With nearly one-third of all children and teens in the United States overweight or obese, this serious health issue increases risk for additional health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and asthma.
You can help fight these health risks by introducing a healthy lifestyle to your children’s daily lives today:
- Eat Healthy
- Shop smart at the grocery store and avoid bringing home salty, fried, or packaged foods.
- Visit a local farmer’s market for fresh fruits and vegetables, and support community agriculture.
- Lead by example – Try healthy new recipes during family meals.
- Create a daily food plan online.
- Increase Physical Activity
- Children need to be physically active for at least 60 minutes every day.
- Limit the use of electronic devices to two hours per day and play outside at one of the Department of Conversation and Recreation (DCR)’s local playgrounds, swimming pools, or MassParks.
- Make sure children get enough sleep to ensure they have the energy to play.
- Form Good Habits at School
- Send children to school with healthy snacks and beverages that meet Massachusetts nutrition standards.
- Get involved with MA Children at Play, a program that encourages physical activity at child care facilities, to help students get exercise throughout the day.
- Share school physical activity resources in your community to keep kids active.
- Establish a Healthy BMI
- Body Mass Index (BMI) helps measure body fat and health status. A healthy weight for children and adolescents typically fall between the 5th and 85th percentile. Visit your pediatrician (or family doctor) to have your child’s BMI measured.
- You can also calculate your child’s BMI at home.
How do you promote healthy habits with your children? Tell us by commenting below or tweeting @MassGov.
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