September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, in a statement, referred to the campaign as an opportunity to instill healthy habits in our children.
"All kids deserve to experience the positive health benefits of daily physical activity and healthy eating, and have those opportunities available to them," she said.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has developed programs and resources to help children and parents, and they’re available in agencies including the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health’s We Can!! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition)® program.
Over the past 30 years, the childhood obesity rate in America has almost tripled. According to the CDC, in 2010, approximately 17 percent of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years were already obese. Children and teenagers who are obese are more likely to become obese adults. Overweight and obese youth are at greater risk of developing serious adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis, noted Sebelius in a press release.
In addition, through public-private partnerships, safe places to play and nutritious food options are being made available in neighborhoods and schools across America. Exciting new programs include the Partnership for a Healthier America and Olympic Team USA’s commitment to provide 1.7 million kids the opportunity to participate in free and low cost physical activity programs offered by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USOC National Governing Bodies for sport, and others over the next year. And, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released a new farm to school grant programdesigned to educate children about food sources, and increase the availability of locally sourced foods in schools, according to a press release.
For more information on the HHS campaign to support healthy eating and activities for children during the month of September,view the website.