September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and the Neosho Freeman Family YMCA is reminding parents about the importance of incorporating regular physical activity and healthier eating habits into their children’s lives.
Childhood obesity rates have soared over the last few decades. Nationally, one in three children is obese or overweight, while 13.6 percent of children in Missouri have also been affected by this epidemic, according to www.healthyamericans.org. More alarming, obesity puts children at risk for chronic diseases often seen in adults, such as high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and type-2 diabetes. This health crisis sheds light on the need to provide children and their parents with the resources and the support they need, emphasizing that small steps can lead to big results to reverse the trend.
One key to fighting childhood obesity is prevention. Regular physical activity – 60 minutes a day for children – and nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains can lower children’s chances of becoming obese or overweight and developing chronic diseases. It’s important to note that 60 minutes of physical activity can be achieved through a number of activities throughout the entire day– it doesn’t have to be done all at once.
As a leading nonprofit strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y believes that getting kids more active and allowing them to play is an important factor in improving their health.
The Neosho Freeman Family YMCA offers programs such as itty-bitty soccer and basketball, youth basketball clinics for grades K-6, summer golf and tennis, summer soccer camp, swim lessons, swim team, as well as afterschool programs and summer day camp. These programs have helped children and families by providing programs that encourage physical activity and give children and families different options on programs that interest them individually.
At the Neosho Freeman Family YMCA, we know that many families struggle to find the time and resources to eat healthier and set aside time for physical activity every day. So we tailor our programs to meet the needs of families in the community to help make the healthier choice an easier choice.
To learn more about the programs offered at the Neosho Freeman Family YMCA for children and families, please contact Sarah Sonis 455-9999.
Sarah Sonis is program director for the Freeman Southwest Family YMCA.