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It’s time to go back to school for children all around the Capital Region. Here’s what you need to know about childhood obesity!

Around 1 in every 5 children in the United States have obesity. Around 1 in every 8 preschoolers is obese.

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September, National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month is a chance to learn and help prevent this health concern. Childhood obesity puts children at an increased risk for more health problems as adults, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. This is preventable!

One tip to help raise awareness while getting healthy is to make small changes in your life. This can be as simple as taking a family walk after dinner, fresh fruit for an after school snack, or drinking more water in the workplace. This is not just a problem for one family, this is a community problem. It is important to understand that childhood obesity is influenced by many factors, but even small changes can make a lasting impact.

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Two of the main contributors to the childhood obesity epidemic are an increase in fast food consumption and lack of physical activity. Always start out with a healthy breakfast! For lunch, prepare it ahead of time for yourself and your kids, it can be as simple as “grab and go”.  In addition, try to limit the amount of soda, juice, and other sugary beverages your child drinks, these liquids can really pack on the pounds. Instead, try swapping these out for water. If you have a picky eater, try adding some fresh fruit or lemon for additional flavor and pop of color!

Also, many community organizations offer after school programs that allow kids to get moving for the recommended hour a day. This is time to get some energy out, while not veggin’ out, even reducing a child’s screen time can help change unhealthy habits! Another factor that many don’t think about is bedtime. Insufficient sleep has a strong association with childhood obesity. There is less snacking and the body has time to recharge for the next day ahead!

With these tips, we hope that you and your family can eat right, get moving, and spread awareness about childhood obesity!

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