Posts Tagged ‘Michelle Obama’

National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. 

President Obama, in a joint action with Congress, signed a proclamation naming September “National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month”.  Obviously inspired by Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move”  initiative, the President says:

“Each of us can play a role in ensuring our children have the opportunity to live long, healthy lives, and by joining together in pursuit of that mission, I am confident we can build a brighter future for America’s youth.”

The statistics on soaring obesity rates in the US over the last four decades are sobering. Google “childhood obesity” to see the staggering number of children who are obese and the escalating toll it is taking on their health in terms of diabetes and hypertension. Further research will tell you about the relationship of obesity to bullying, educational malaise and the burden on our health care system.

It’s no coincidence that September was chosen as the month to raise awareness for Childhood Obesity. September marks the beginning of the school year and the season that we have the opportunity to help our children “Fall” into learning. So as they pick up pencils, binders, books and iPads, why shouldn’t they pick up some strategies to help them eat better and get some exercise? Just as we want their educational learning to last a lifetime it’s important that the lessons of healthy eating and active lifesytles last a lifetime too.

It is said that it takes a village to raise a kid, right? I would go a step further and say  that everyone in the village has a role to play in raising healthy, active kids. If we commit some energy to this, we have a unique opportunity to turn the epidemic around. This September, let’s focus on our kids, our families, our communities and our schools  and some easy, creative strategies to promote health and get kids moving.

 Here’s what we can do:

At Home
* The Food Pyramid is out and the healthy plate is in! Put a copy of the healthy plate on your refrigerator and together with your kids meet the challenge of preparing healthy meals everyday. Find the healthy plate at ChooseMyPlate.gov .
*Use ChooseMyPLate.gov as a resource for healthy eating
*Limit tv and video game time to 1-2 hours a day. Get your kids walking the dog, or going to the playground. Get in on the fun and take a jog or throw a ball with them!
*Talk with your kids about what they eat outside of the home.
*Use “the method of the Grandmother”. Encourage your kids everytime they tell you about making a healthy food choice.
*Give your children chores. Sweeping, mopping, mowing the lawn and dusting burn calories too!

At School
*Teachers and administrators be  role models by leading an active lifestyle.
*School staff have lunch with the students and let them see your healthy food choices.
*Use a period to tie your teaching subject to nutritous eating.
*Use a period to take students for a walk or engage in some form of exercise.
*Introduce a fruit or vegetable in class, have the students do research on why that food is good for them.
*Check out the Healthier US School Challenge and plant a school garden.
*Challenge your school to provide healthier and more satisfies food choices for the National School Breakfast and Lunch programs.

The Community
*Host nutritional seminars in places of worship, youth centers and YMCA’s. Once again using ChooseMyPlate.gov for building healthy menus.
*Offer weekly exercise programs in your congregation, community centers and health facilities.
*Organize people and solicit organizations to create a community food garden. USDA has a People’s Garden Website that can help. www.usda.gov/peoplesgarden
*Nudge your local elected officials; they have a unique ability to act on our behalf when they know we exercise our voting rights!

* People and organizations build relationships with grocery stores and retailers for better access to healthy food in underserved areas.  

The challenge in fighting this epidemic lies in the partnership between children and their parents or caregivers, their schools, and their communities. We all know that implementing changes and breaking unhealthy habits is not easy! Let’s start, this September, helping children understand the importance of making healthy choices and staying active. Our collective actions will ensure a healthy future for us all. 

References:

letsmove.gov
redOrbit.com
ChooseMyPlate.gov
healthierkidsbrighterfutures.org
www.usda.gov/peoplesgarden

G3 Health And Fitness – Earth Day

G3 Health and Fitness, Inc. spent a part of Earth Day – April 22nd – with an energetic Girl Scouts troop from the Burlington-Camden County area.  The Girl Scouts, some of their moms and leaders participated in a lively, fun, and educational, free fitness Jamboree held at the Kennedy Center in Willingboro, NJ.
 
G3 volunteers, dedicated to the fight against childhood obesity and to helping families, led all of the sessions.
 
Vikki, a skilled trainer and G3 leader, got the group fired up with Zumba, a Latin-inspired fitness dance party.  By the end of the session, group members had boosted their metabolism …. doing it to hip-hop and Cumbia music.
 
Nicole, a spunky, registered dietitian, brought a fresh, interactive learning approach, which encouraged the girls to look for ways to eat healthier.
 
Sue, another G3 leader and expert trainer, directed the group with gentle Yoga poses, designed to relax their muscles and decreased their heart rate.
 
After such an impactful fitness workshop on Earth Day, I thought about the parallels between the “Earth Day” and “Let’s Move” initiatives. Just as the environmental movement was mobilized in Congress by a bi-partisan effort to establish Earth Day, so has First Lady Michelle Obama started a national movement to take better care of our bodies with healthier diets and more physical activity.   Evidence of Earth Day’s success can be seen in widespread recycling, creation of the EPA, toxic substance controls and other environmental actions. Mrs. Obama’s initiative is starting a movement that crosses generations.  “Let’s Move” has been successful in passing the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which provides that all children have access to healthier foods at school.  With this act, the amount of fruits and veggies has doubled in school lunches.
 
The Healthy US School program has been rolled into “Let’s Move” challenges schools to meet the highest national standards for nutrition and physical activity.  Several large chain grocers have committed to reduce prices of fresh produce and to reformulate many of their private-label processed foods by 2015 to reduce sodium, sugar and trans fats.
 
G3’s mission is to fight childhood obesity, by helping families:  Get Moving, Get Knowledge, Get Healthy and Strong. Local programs like the one G3 held for the Girl Scouts, help families spend quality time together, while learning about good food choices so they can get healthy and strong.  Why don’t you join our Movement during Fitness Month? Get the G-facto! We need volunteers to help to change people’s lives.
 
 

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