September 26, 2018
As designated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), September is National Childhood Obesity Month. Nationally, roughly one in five children suffers from obesity. In Central Indiana, that number is even worse.
Jump IN for Healthy Kids, a United Way of Central Indiana partner, is focused on changing that trend and helping children and families lead healthier lives. Currently, 43% of children in Central Indiana are overweight or obese. Our goal is to reduce that to 38% by 2025.
Why is childhood obesity such a problem? The causes of the obesity epidemic are numerous and complex. Our food has changed over the years. Now, much of our food is highly processed, calorie dense and “super-sized.” There are still healthy options out there, but many families lack access to affordable, healthy food.
The food children eat is just the beginning of why childhood obesity is such an issue in our community. Today, children have fewer opportunities to play and be active, as recess and physical education classes have been reduced or cut entirely in schools. Too many kids spend too much time sitting in front of computer screens, tablets or smart phones. Many of them live in neighborhoods that lack safe places to play.
Jump IN is working to change these major issues linked to childhood obesity. Jump IN is focused on improving the environments where children learn and grow, from schools and child care providers, to camps and after school programs. Jump IN is also addressing food access and ensuring that our communities have healthy food options, as well as safe places to walk, bike and play.
As part of National Childhood Obesity Month, we encourage you to take action in your own homes. Jump IN promotes the 5-2-1-0 concept of healthy habits. It’s a simple, four-step set of behaviors that help people maintain a healthy weight. The 5 means you should consume five fruits and vegetables every day, 2 means no more than two hours of recreational screen time, 1 means one hour of physical activity and 0 means zero sugar-sweetened beverages (which includes fruit drinks and sports drinks). We encourage you to practice these habits daily — as a family, on your own, and in your place of work.
If you are a teacher, an early childhood educator, someone interested in employee wellness, a leader of a youth-serving organization, a parent or just a concerned citizen, Jump IN has many tools that can help you. The Resource Hub is full of flyers, websites and support guides. Discover ideas for curriculum, family engagement tools and fun activities that you can do as a family, at work or in classrooms. Use the search option to narrow your results and don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re looking for something specific that you can’t find.
This article is part of Jump INside, a blog series featuring stories from Jump IN for Healthy Kids, a United Way of Central Indiana partner that focuses on reducing and preventing childhood obesity in Central Indiana. See all of the stories here.