JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --
September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. In an effort to raise awareness about obesity and promote a healthy lifestyle, the 11th Medical Group disease management team will reach out to the youth population at the Joint Base Andrews Youth Center and the Imagine Andrews grade school, with interactive games and activities that encourage good nutrition and show that exercise can be fun.
Capt. Andrea Weiss, 11th MDG psychologist, will meet with 10 to 12 year olds, at the youth center, Aug. 8, at 3:00 p.m. to discuss peer pressure. On Aug. 11, the youth will learn how to prepare healthy meals and participate in an active yoga session, which will promote the benefits of exercise while preventing stress.
The Disease Management team will visit the Imagine Andrews grade school, on Sept. 22, to lead students in a series of line dances to further encourage exercise and encourage healthy food choices by using the My Plate method.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the percentage of children with obesity in the United States has more than tripled since the 1970s. Today, about one in five school-aged children (ages 6 to 19) is obese. Being overweight is defined as having a higher weight than what is considered healthy for a specific height. Obesity refers to having an unhealthy amount of body fat.
Children with obesity are at higher risk for chronic health conditions such as asthma, sleep apnea, joint problems and type 2 diabetes. Children with obesity are also bullied and teased more than their normal weight peers and are more likely to suffer from social isolation, depression and lower self-esteem.
While there are some things we cannot control that contribute to our weight like family history, metabolism and ethnicity, we do have control over our lifestyle. Parents can help their children stay healthy and happy by promoting good eating habits and wellness from an early age.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a healthy lifestyle for all children based on the “5-2-1-0” guideline. This includes eating five fruits or vegetables each day, two hours or less of screen time, one hour or more of exercise and 0 sugar beverages each day.
“We recommend eating meals as a family, limiting fast food meals to once a week, and discouraging super-size options,” said Maj. (Dr.) Courtney Bleach, 11th MDG pediatrician. “Children should also eat a healthy breakfast.”
Informational handouts about childhood obesity are available in both the Family Health and Pediatric clinics. In addition, please see the resource links below for more ways to help your family stay fit and healthy: