By|Destiny McIntosh

According to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, “Childhood obesity is a national epidemic. Nearly 1 in 3 children (ages 2-19) in the United States is overweight or obese, putting them at risk for serious health problems.”

Many parents hear the words “obese” and “overweight” and began to panic but in fact the words have completely different meanings. When doctors tell parents or caregivers that their child is overweight it actually mean they are above the weight considered normal and healthy according to their age and height range.

Being overweight as a child the chances of becoming obese are a lot greater when they reach adulthood. To be obese means a child is severally overweight and has an equal or greater body mass index than someone who is overweight.

The state of Florida alone has a childhood obesity rate of 36.6 percent and holds the number four spot compared to the others according to the state of obesity. “I know my child is obese and at this point my only concern is his health and making sure he does not grow up and become like me. I know I am not a good example but we are trying together. I recently enrolled him into after school sports to kind of keep him busy.” Said Jenny Braden

The YMCA has joined forces with the National League of Cities to teach families and youth new skills and learn how to engage with others and develop a love for outdoors through service projects, recreation and environmental education. Along with the YMCA another well-known program for youth looking to get active is the Pop Warner Little Scholars Program.

Pop Warner provides activities for children ages sixteen and under. Activities such as cheer-leading, dance programs and of course football. Pop Warner is the largest program in the world and is not like many others. Their commitment to academics sets them aside from any other program, not only do they provide a well-rounded environment but their mission is to teach skills needed throughout their adolescents on and off the field.

Just because a child is at risk or over weight does not mean that is the end. There are many after school programs and activities for children to get enrolled in. Obesity should not be the thing people are afraid to talk about but in fact recommend other options and the healthier choice. “Obesity in children is growing out of control. A big part of this is economic. Fake foods are more affordable. It’s enticing people to eat more because they think they’re saving money when they’re really just buying heart disease.” Michaels Said.

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