MEIGS COUNTY — One in three children in the United States is overweight or obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, which takes place during September, is set up to raise awareness about the childhood obesity epidemic in America and show people that they can help solve this problem.
The good news is that childhood obesity can be prevented. In honor of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, the Meigs County Health Department encourages families to make healthy changes together.
- Get active outside: Walk around the neighborhood, go on a bike ride or play basketball at the park.
- Limit screen time: Keep screen time (time spent on the computer, watching TV or playing video games) to two hours or less a day.
- Make healthy meals: Buy and serve more vegetables, fruits and whole-grain foods.
- Replace sweetened beverages with water or low-fat milk.
Taking small steps as a family can help a child stay at a healthy weight.
Just this year, the Meigs County Health Department’s Child & Family Health Services Program, with the help of Ohio University’s Voinovich School, conducted a local study regarding childhood health/wellness and obesity. The results showed that more than 90 percent of the parents perceived that a healthy lifestyle for children, including nutritious food in their diet and getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, was very important. Also, almost 63 percent of respondents expressed concern about childhood obesity in Meigs County.
“I think the results are showing that we as a community are becoming more and more aware of this important issue, and are realizing even more how large of an impact childhood health and wellness can have on a community,” Juli Simpson, CFHS program director, Meigs County Health Department, said. “We’re on the right path, but we also have a lot more work to do and need to build on the progress. It takes time. Everyone has a role to play in helping kids lead healthy lives.”
Over the past few years, the CFHS program has helped fund indoor gardening curriculums for all three public school districts in Meigs County in an effort to help instill some of these important concepts to kids starting at an early age.
“The VeggieU indoor gardening curriculums are great for our schools because the kids get to literally dig in, get their hands dirty, grow and maintain various vegetable plants from the seed up, learn about nutrition, start a worm farm — they love that part — all while having fun, but learning at the same time,” Simpson said.
For more information, call the Meigs County Health Department at 740-992-6626 or visit www.meigs-health.com.