Childhood obesity is a growing problem across the U.S. and the world. According to the CDC, about 1 in 5 American children suffer from obesity.
Children with obesity are also more likely to experience bullying, social isolation, depression and lower self-esteem. The Y takes an active role in helping to combat childhood obesity and strengthen families. And, a healthy family is more than eating right. It includes spending quality time together like tea parties and family movie nights. At the Y, we offer a number of special family activities that help keep families close and healthy.
Reducing & Preventing Childhood Obesity
The CDC suggests four things that families can do to prevent childhood obesity - modeling healthy eating, moving as a family, setting consistent sleep routines, and replacing screen time with family time.
1. Model Healthy Eating - Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and nuts for the family while limiting consumption of total fats and sugars including hidden sugars in children's drinks. Learn more about how to make smarter drink choices for children with the Rethink your Drink campaign the Top 10 coalition in central Indiana and the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis are leading.
2. Move as a Family - The whole family needs regular physical activity. Children should get at an hour of physical activity a day and adults should get at least two and a half hours a week to stay healthy. Swimming, walking and playing basketball at the Y are all great ways to stay active and have fun as a family.
3. Set Consistent Sleep Routines - According to the CDC, "good sleep helps prevent type 2 diabetes, obesity, injuries and problems with attention and behavior. Kids who don’t get enough sleep are at risk for unhealthy weight gain." The CDC provides recommendations on how much sleep children need by age group.
4. Replace Screen Time with Family Time - Reducing screen time can help improve sleep and mental health in youth and gives an opportunity for family activities. Check out upcoming family events and programs at your local YMCA.
"The Y works hard to be a place in our community that supports healthy habits at all life stages," says Chelsy Winters, Executive Director of Healthy Living Initiatives for the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis.
Youth development programming at the Y follows the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards which outlines specific nutritional guidelines that must be met. Additionally, YMCA youth programs from preschool through school-age provide opportunities for youth to be active and creative throughout their time in our care.
Youth sports classes, clinics and leagues are a great way to get your child moving and making friends in an active and supportive environment. From dance classes to soccer leagues and martial arts and swim lessons, the Y offers a variety of ways for children to have fun while being active. Starting something as simple as swim lessons can create a lifelong healthy habit for children.
Looking for something for the whole family to do together to fight childhood obesity? A variety of family events and programs are available throughout the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis.
YMCA of Greater Indianapolis members also have access to a variety of videos on YMCA360 including videos on family nutrition, cooking, family exercise classes, sports and more on the Kids and Family channel. This member benefit can be used anytime, anywhere at no additional cost.
"We think that being healthy is about more than just activity, it’s about a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all. Whether you are going for a swim together as a family or signing up your kids for youth sports while you take a group exercise class, we want to be there to support your healthy living goals," says Winters. "We also focus on ensuring that our buildings, activities, and programs model and support healthy habits."
Stop in your home YMCA today to find ways for your family to be active and have fun together!