Executive Chef Ron Duprat1 Executive Chef Ron Duprat2
 

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3 Ways You Can Fight Childhood Obesity

We’ve come a long way in the past decade in the fight against obesity, but there’s still a long battle to be fought. Obesity in children is a serious epidemic that affects 12.7 million of children and teens between the ages of two and 19, according to the CDC. Obesity refers to a complex disorder that involves an excessive amount of body fat, leading to diseases and health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

The news isn’t all bad. The prevalence of obesity among children aged 2 to 5 years decreased significantly from 13.9 percent in 2004 to 8.4 percent in 2012. More has to be done, and one way to achieve that is through teaching children about the importance of eating healthy and getting plenty of exercise. Here are three ways you can fight childhood obesity in your own home:

#1: Represent the Five Food Groups

Check out ChooseMyPlate.gov sponsored by the USDA to see which food groups should be present at every meal: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. Part of making wise food choices is knowing how they will affect you. Check the nutrition facts labels on all foods you consider in the grocery store, which list out the percent daily values, serving sizes and nutrients. Pay attention to portion sizes and teach children to make healthy choices when outside the home.

#2: Buy Fresh, Locally-Sourced Ingredients

In addition to making sure all food groups are represented, it’s important to ensure what you serve your children is not only healthy but supports local farming efforts as well. There are many reasons why locally-grown and sourced foods are better for you:

  • They’re full of flavor.
  • They’re picked at the peak of freshness and you can often buy them within 24 hours of harvesting.
  • In-season produce tastes better and fresher.
  • With a shorter time between farm to table, local food has a higher nutrient value than food sitting in a warehouse.
  • You’re supporting the local economy.
  • You’re promoting a safer food supply.
  • You know what you’re getting because you can speak to the farmers about how they grow their food.

#3: Get Active

In addition to the above ways to combat obesity with healthy food, couple your diet with plenty of physical fitness. For kids, this means getting moderate to rigorous physical activity for one hour per day in order to help prevent certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and stroke – which happen to be the three leading causes of death in this country. Physical fitness can help you control your weight, reduce fat, build strong bones and muscles, and decrease the risk of obesity. First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign encourages children to get 60 minutes of play with moderate to vigorous activity every day in order to ensure a healthy weight.

Do your part to fight against childhood obesity through healthy eating and exercise!

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