According to The National Poll on Children’s Health, childhood obesity has replaced smoking and drug abuse to become the number one health concern for kids in 2008.
“Like most kids growing up in the South, I was raised to believe that the preferred way of cooking anything is to first batter it in cornmeal or flour and then fry the ever-loving nutrition out of it in a pan of gurgling hot grease.”
– From Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork (Center Street; $19.95) by Mike Huckabee
the fat on southern kids
- According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control’s, many Southerners have unhealthy lifestyles related to high-fat diets and inactivity.
- Tennessee’s children ages 10 – 17 are ranked fifth in state-by-state rankings of overweight children included in the National Survey of Children’s Health conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- Ten of the 15 states with the highest rates of adult obesity are located in the South.
- Eight of the 10 states with the highest rates of overweight children are in the South.
- Tennessee’s kids are more overweight than the U.S. average according to Trust for America’s Health, an online advocacy group that works to protect people.
- Tennessee requires physical education for students in grades K – 8; however, the state does not require a specific number of minutes or days per week. Students in grades 9 – 12 must complete the Lifetime Wellness course to graduate. The course includes one standard for physical activity.
what YOU can do: encourage activity
Your children need to learn how good it feels to feel good – and they need to learn this from YOU. If YOU eat right, your kids will eat better. Talk about it at home. Go at it together. If YOU participate in fun activities with them, they will enjoy feeling better with you. Obesity may be the result of genetics and environment, but activity is completely up to individuals. Here’s what you can do to improve your family’s overall well-being:
- Walk, play and explore your backyard and the play equipment at your local park.
- Play backyard games to get your kids moving: Walk like a penguin, hop like a frog or imitate other animals’ movements.
- Sit facing each other and hold hands. Rock back and forth and sing, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.â€
- Bend at the waist and touch the ground. Walk your hands forward and inch along like a caterpillar.
- Sit on the ground and let your child step over your legs, or make a bridge with your body and let your child crawl under.
- Play Follow the Leader, Ring Around the Rosy and other similar games.
- Listen to music and dance together.