Department Of Health Has America On The Move
Let’s Move is a comprehensive, dynamic program to put children back on their feet and reduce our nation’s high obesity rate. Recognizing that poor nutrition and low physical activity are the culprits of this epidemic, First Lady Michelle Obama on February 9, 2010 launched Let’s Move with fervent passion.
“The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake,” said Mrs. Obama. “This isn’t the kind of problem that can be solved overnight, but with everyone working together, it can be solved. So, let’s move.”
The Let’s Move Today program is geared up to raise a healthy generation and is gaining momentum as one of DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s nine key initiatives. Under the new direction of leading pediatrician, Dr. Judith Palfrey, Let’s Move is focused on educating schools, community organizations and businesses to implement sound nutrition and fun activities for raising healthy children. They offer up-to-date research, support programs and encouraging helpful tips for feeding children healthier meals and adding physical exercise into their daily lives.
Obesity Costs Money and Lives
The American lifestyle has dramatically changed over the past 30 years – we eat more and exercise less. The results of our over-indulgence are showing up in alarming childhood obesity rates. According to the Department of Health Center for Disease Control, childhood obesity has tripled, and nearly one in three children is either overweight or obese. In the African-American and Hispanic communities the rate is even higher, with 40% overweight or obese.
As with obese adults, the road ahead for these children will be riddled with chronic obesity-related health problems that lead to heart disease, hypertension, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer, breathing problems, joint and muscle problems, hormonal imbalances and social and psychological problems, emotional suffering. For all these diseases, doctor visits and services increase medical costs for everyone involved – families, medical facilities and insurance. Obese persons’ medical costs are on the average $1,492 higher than a normal weight person. And every state in the union’s obesity rate is over 20%. This is a no win situation.
H o w D i d W e G e t H e r e
Americans are eating more today than we did 30 years ago! We consume over 31% more calories than we did forty years ago, including 51% more fats and oils, 14% more sugars and sweeteners. The average American eats 15 pounds more sugar a year than in 1970.
Imagine, 8-18 year olds average 7.5 hours a day in front of the TVs, computers, video games, cell phones and so on, and only 1/3 of high school students get the recommended amount of physical activity.
Not enough physical activity and too many empty calories lead to childhood obesity.
Don’t let these staggering statistics send you right into your personal road blocks! Instead, start on your road to wellness one step at time. To introduce good eating, start with fun educational activities on how food grows and is digested in the body. Plant a garden and watch how excited children become to eat nutritious vegetables and fruits they grew themselves. Use an anatomy chart so they can understand and connect the dots by seeing and feeling their organs and muscles. Always check with a doctor before starting a physical activity or group sport. But unless there is special physical issue, you don’t need your doctor’s approval to go for a walk with your child. Begin today.