WASHINGTON – Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled.
Today, nearly one in three children in our nation is obese or overweight. This issue is even more severe in Indian country as a study of four-year-olds found that obesity is two times more common among American Indian/ Alaska Native children than any other racial or ethnic group studied.
Let’s Move in Indian Country! Works to Reduce Obesity Among Native Youth
One-third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. Many others will face chronic obesity-related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and asthma.
A study indicates that young people who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of high blood pressure, or hypertension, when they grow up.
At Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, researcher Sara Watson saw this in 27 years of data on more than 1,100 teenagers:“Children and adolescents who were overweight had double the risk of having hypertension as young adults. Those who were obese had quadruple the risk.”
Put another way, 6 percent of normal weight youth grew up to have hypertension, but 14 percent of overweight children and 26 percent of obese children did.
Let’s Move! Child Care is a nationwide call to action to empower early education and child care programs to make positive health changes in children that could last a lifetime. The initiative focuses on five goals:
- Physical Activity: Provide one to two hours of physical activity throughout the day, including outside play when possible.
- Screen Time: No screen time for children under two years. For children age two and older, strive to limit screen time to no more than 30 minutes per week during child care, and work with parents and caregivers to ensure children have no more than one to two hours of quality screen time per day, the amount recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Food: Serve fruits or vegetables at every meal, eat meals family-style when possible, and no fried foods.
- Beverages: Provide access to water during meals and throughout the day, and do not serve sugary drinks. For children age two and older, serve low fat (1 percent) or non-fat milk, and no more than one 4 to 6 ounce serving of 100 percent juice per day.
- Infant feeding: For mothers who want to continue breastfeeding, provide their milk to their infants and welcome them to breastfeed during the child care day; and support all new parents in their decisions about infant feeding.