September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and an opportunity for our community to learn more about this serious health issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly one in five children in the United States has obesity. Children with obesity are at a higher risk for other chronic health conditions including asthma, sleep apnea, and type 2 diabetes. Obese children are also at a higher risk of being bullied by their peers and are more likely to suffer from depression and low self-esteem. While childhood obesity can be caused by a number of social factors, physical activity behaviors, genetics, metabolism, dietary behaviors, and more, there are many ways we can support healthy growth in children by exposing them to positive healthy experiences and instilling good exercise and nutrition habits.
The Y is committed to fighting childhood obesity by helping kids improve their spiritual, mental, and physical health and develop lifelong healthy habits through youth sports, aquatics, programs, and camps. Here are four ways the Y can help support healthy growth in your child:
- Learn New Skills & Make New Friends in Y Youth Sports: For many kids in our community, the Y is where they learn the importance of staying active and developing healthy habits they’ll carry with them throughout their lives. Y youth sports help reduce the risk of childhood obesity by keeping kids active and moving. Y youth sports are all-inclusive and designed to benefit kids of all levels. Whether it’s gaining the confidence that comes from learning to swim or building the positive relationships that lead to good sportsmanship and teamwork, participating in sports at the Y is about building the whole child, from the inside out. Learn more.
- Impart a Lifelong Love of Swimming: Swimming is a life skill as well as great exercise, and a challenging sport. Our Ys offer swim lessons for all ages, family swim, competitive swimming, and diving teams, and many kinds of adaptive swim programs for kids with special needs, so all can safely enjoy the water and stay active. Learn more.
- Normalize Healthy Eating: At the Y, we believe that healthy eating doesn’t have to be difficult. Help curb childhood obesity by providing healthy snacks and foods. We have dozens of healthy recipes on our website that your entire family is sure to love. Have a nutrition question? Ask our Virtual Chef! We are always sharing free healthy tips and tricks on our blog, too. For example, check out these recent blog posts:
- Provide Extra Support & Enrichment Activities Before & After School: The Y offers before & after school programming for both elementary and middle school students. Through a holistic lens, the Y helps students learn, grow, and thrive through a research-based curriculum that includes homework support, reading activities, health and wellness education, character development, science, technology, engineering & math (STEM), and more. Learn more.