Teach children to adopt healthy eating habits

Published 7:00 am Friday, March 30, 2018

The United States is facing an epidemic of childhood obesity.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 5 children aged 6 to 19 are obese.

“The percentage of children and adolescents affected by obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s,” CDC data states.

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Mississippi has some of the highest rates of obesity in the nation, according to CDC data. A study by the Mississippi State Department of Health shows that 27.4 percent of children aged two to five are obese, while 23.5 percent of children attending kindergarten through 12th grade are obese.

Whether it’s introducing children to healthier foods, or encouraging them to stay active, it is never too early to start teaching children how to live a healthy lifestyle.

A study by the National Institutes of Health states that, “75-80 percent of obese adolescents will become obese adults.”

Obesity leads to an enormous amount of potential health problems in youth that can go with them into adulthood. Health risks include high blood pressure, trouble breathing, type 2 diabetes and psychological problems, among other things, the CDC states.

The American Academy of Pediatrics takes the stance that teaching children about healthy living at a young age is crucial, and that the organization, “encourages parents to think of their nutritional decisions as health decisions.”

Tuesday evening, the Pearl River Central School District held a family health fair during which several local agencies taught children and their families how to make healthier decisions.

There were volunteers who gave advice on cooking and eating healthier, emergency personnel from the fire department who gave tips on fire safety, and even representatives from a local martial arts business who gave presentations on basic self-defense moves.

By raising awareness and giving families the tools to succeed, efforts like PRC’s family health fair are doing a great deal to make Mississippi a healthier state.