Childhood obesity is a major concern impacting many families today. Most children today are not engaging in the recommended one hour of physical activity each day, and the majority of food companies target children with poor quality food filled with added sugar, unhealthy fats, and chemicals. In addition to lack of exercise and an excess of calories consumed from nutrient-lacking foods, there are many other factors that play into the childhood obesity predicament, such as genetics, technology, physiological factors and family environment.
On average, children between the ages of 8-18 watch over 3 hours of television per day (CDC, 2010). Of the vegetable servings consumed by American children, half are consumed from potatoes, served as French fries (HHS, 2010). Unhealthy habits established at a young age are more likely to continue into adulthood. This may lead to future health complications, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, high blood cholesterol, diabetes and depression. The best strategy to prevent future issues for your family is to improve the dietary and exercise habits of your entire family today. The healthYouth program at Ripon Medical Center is assisting families in making these healthy changes in their lives.
The healthYouth program at Ripon Medical Center is a program for children and young adults ages 6-18 to obtain the knowledge, skills, and desire to live a healthier life in a fun and interactive manner at each session! All of the participants of the new healthYouth program have been successful in making healthier lifestyle changes. They all have demonstrated improved knowledge of making healthier food choices, an increased knowledge of nutrition label reading, and have made it a point to increase activity levels. One family discovered they really enjoy going on daily walks together after dinner. One child enjoys experimenting with different ingredients for fruit smoothies and even makes them for his little brother. Another child on his graduation day from the program begged for the program to continue because he enjoyed the sessions so much. Families that have completed the program have found the goals, exercise logs, recipes, and dietary handouts the most helpful. In addition, through several surveys distributed throughout the duration of the program, many of the quality of life survey scores increased and depression scoring decreased, which show an improved satisfaction in the lives of the participants.
United States Department of Health and Human Services. (2010, January 22). Childhood Obesity. Retrieved from http://www.aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/child_obesity/