‘Let’s Move!’ helps families tackle childhood obesity

| February 26, 2010 | 0 Comments

Lt. Col. Karen E. Hawkins
Defense Commissary Agency

FORT LEE, Va. — Making healthy choices for children and families is getting easier with the newly released Let’s Move! campaign.

Nearly 20 percent of children and teens in Department of Defense families are considered obese. Across the nation, the numbers are even greater: one child in three is overweight.

(Courtesy Photo)To help address obesity, Let’s Move! provides a coordinated effort that involves families, schools, private industry and the government. You are encouraged to join First Lady Michelle Obama and others in this campaign to tackle the challenge of childhood obesity.

Overweight children and adolescents are more likely to have risk factors associated with heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes.

Obese children and adolescents also are more likely to become obese adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one study found that about 80 percent of children who were overweight at ages 10 to 15 were obese adults at age 25.

Another study found that 25 percent of obese adults were overweight as children. This study also found that if a child is overweight by age 8, obesity in adulthood is likely to be more severe.

The Food and Drug Administration is developing and providing guidance for retailers and manufacturers to include new nutritionally sound and consumer-friendly, front-of-package labeling.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, along with members of the medical community, will educate doctors and nurses across the country about obesity. Doctors will regularly monitor your child’s body mass index and educate you about healthy eating habits and physical activity.

To help families make healthier food and physical activity choices, the U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to revamp the food pyramid. The USDA’s Web site, www.mypyramid.gov, will make available several different tools to put dietary guidelines into practice.

During the 2010/2011 school year, the USDA will work with schools and the private sector to double the number of schools that meet the Healthier U.S. Schools Challenge Program and add 1,000 schools each year for the next two years.

This challenge program includes standards for food quality at schools, participation in meal programs, physical activity, and nutrition education. It also provides recognition for schools that meet these standards.
To help meet the goal of increasing the number of schools that meet the challenge, major school food suppliers have agreed to meet the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations, within five years, to decrease the amount of sugar, fat and salt in school meals; increase whole grains; and double the amount of produce they serve within 10 years.

Children need 60 minutes of active and vigorous play every day to grow up in healthy weight category, according to the Centers for Disease Control and other resources.

The Presidential Active Lifestyle Award is provided through the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. This challenge for children and adults is to build healthy habits by committing to regular physical activity five days a week, for six weeks. The council plans to double the number of children in the 2010/2011 school year who earn a Presidential Active Lifestyle Award by engaging in regular physical activity.

As many as 6.5 million children live in areas that do not have adequate access to a supermarket. These communities — where access to affordable, quality and nutritious foods is limited — are known as food deserts and can be found on the USDA’s new interactive Food Atlas. So, Let’s Move! is working to ensure that all families have access to healthy, affordable food in their communities.

As part of the national campaign, Let’s Move! will look for tools and strategies to help increase physical activity and help increase access to healthy, affordable food throughout the nation.

Visit “Ask the Dietitian” on www.commissaries.com and post your questions on the Dietitian Forum.




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