Inspiration, Ideas, Tips and Strategies, by Always Healthy Mom

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thoughts from me...

Childhood obesity not only effects the work I do everyday as a Registered Nurse and Health Educator but it also a plays a role in my personal life as well. As a mom of 3 young children and I experience the struggles and obstacles first hand when trying to raise a health family and live a healthy lifestyle today. The fact is that our lives today are more hectic and over committed than ever before. But that is why this topic is so critical; we need to find solutions and answers to the obesity epidemic.
I want to take a moment and share with you why I continue to do the work I do everyday. Not too long ago I was asked to help a local news anchor with a story on childhood obesity. We went to a local middle school to interview staff and students. When we were there I had the opportunity to talk with a young boy, we discussed the fact that diabetes ran in his family. His grandfather, him mother and uncle all had it. The one message that I left with him that day it that only 10% of his health was due to his heredity and 70% was due to his lifestyle and healthy behaviors. That 70 % is why I am standing here today! That 70% is his health future!
It is no surprise that 1 in 3 children today are considered overweight or obese. But what is interesting is the fact that these statistics have tripled in the last 30 years. These staggering statistics are what have brought us and many others together. First we must understand that childhood obesity is the result of a calorie imbalance. Too few calories expended for the amount consumed. This is affected by various genetic, behavioral and environmental factors.
So why is the topic of childhood obesity important?
There are immediate health consequences we are seeing in our children today that were one exclusively known only to adults. Such as sleep apnea, joint problems, high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, diabetes and social and psychological problems as well.
Not only are we concerned about the immediate health consequence but we also see there is long term affects as well. Increased adult obesity, type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer, heart failure, heart disease, liver and gallbladder disease the list goes on and on!

So what needs to be done? And what can we do?
We need to look closely at the environmental and behavioral factors that are unsupportive to our children’s health today. We need to call on schools, families, medical providers, communities, food and beverage industries and government leaders for support!

I am 100 % confident that it will take the support of our entire community to raise a healthy child today, but I believe it can be done.
We need to educate and create awareness. We need to give children access to healthy foods. This is a process that will not happen over night. But together we can make an impact in our children’s health future!
One last thought I want to leave you with today is one that is sometimes hard to swallow. You alone are your child’s most important health role model. So make each day the healthiest one you can, by setting a good example. So start eating your veggies, go outside and play, don’t forget your lunch and please get some sleep!
Always Healthy Mom

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