El Tiempo Hispano: Childhood Obesity is a Family Affair

Adopting healthy habits together can help reduce childhood obesity

The YMCA of Delaware wants families throughout the state to understand how adopting healthy habits together can help reduce childhood obesity

Register Now for the Healthy Weight and Your Child Program

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and while the dangers of childhood obesity are well chronicled, many families need support changing their families’ habits with the goal of overweight and obese children obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight. That’s why the YMCA of Delaware — a leading community-based organization dedicated to improving health—wants families to understand the dangers of childhood obesity and ways to reverse course through improved eating habits and increased physical activity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of obesity has remained stable at about 17 percent and affects about 12.7 million children and adolescents. Today, obesity affects one in six children and one in three are overweight, which poses greater risks for many health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and some cancers. Here in Delaware about 17 percent of 10 to 17 year olds are considered overweight or obese, according to the Trust for America’s Health Study.

“For years parents have heard the dangers of childhood obesity but making the necessary lifestyle changes—as a family—remains the biggest barrier to real progress,” said Kat Luebke Health Integration Coordinator, YMCA of Delaware. “Together we can learn healthy behaviors, and community-based organizations like the Y can provide a helping hand.”

The YMCA of Delaware is helping families improve their health and potentially reduce the impact of childhood obesity through the Healthy Weight and Your Child (HWYC) Program. HWYC is an evidence-based, weight management program that seeks to empower children and families through education, healthy eating, and physical activity. The program’s goal is to elicit positive change and help families learn skills and behaviors that enable them to live a healthier lifestyle so that children enter adulthood at a healthy weight. The Bear-Glasgow YMCA and the Western Family YMCA will begin their 15 week – HWYC classes this month.

Classes begin on Monday, September 10th at the Western Family Y and on Tuesday, September 11th at the Bear-Glasgow Y. If you are interested in registering for the program, please contact the YMCA of Delaware’s Healthy Living department at 302.572.9622 or [email protected].

Additionally, the YMCA of Delaware will celebrate Healthy Kids Day on Saturday, April 27th, 2019. Healthy Kids Day is a national initiative sponsored by the Y to improve the health and well-being of kids. This free community event is held at every Y in Delaware and offers activities and games for kids and families.

While outside support is key, developing healthy habits begins at home. The following tips are some great ways to incorporate healthier eating habits and more physical activity into your daily family routine:

  • Eat & Drink Healthy: Make water the drink of choice and encourage everyone to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables by offering two or three colorful options at every meal. As a family choose a new fruit and veggie every week to taste together. Place a full pitcher of water on the table during meals and allow children to pour their own water. Keep full water bottles available in the car and back packs.
  • Play Every Day/Go Outside: Children should have at least an hour a day of unstructured play outside (when possible) and break a sweat at least three times a week by getting 20 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity. Join your children in games that get your hearts pumping and bodies moving.
  • Get Together: Eat as a family as frequently as possible. Involve kids in meal planning, preparation and clean up. In addition, adults should take a break from electronics and spend one-to-one time each day with their kids, enjoying one another’s company.
  • Reduce Recreational Screen Time: Time spent in front of a television, computer, tablet, cell phone or video games should be limited to two hours or less per day. Make a family plan to reduce screen time at home (i.e. turn off screens during meals, charge electronics/screens in the kitchen overnight, go for a walk after a meal, set a timer to remind you to power down the screen).
  • Sleep Well: Kids and adults need to keep a regular sleep schedule; unwind together in the evenings by reading a book or listening to soft music to ensure the body is preparing for sleep. Kids are growing and need 10-12 hours of healthy sleep per night and seven to eight hours for adults.

To learn more about the YMCA of Delaware’s Healthy Weight and Your Child Program, please contact the Healthy Living Department at 302.572.9622 or [email protected]

Our Mission

To empower youth, foster healthy living, and promote strong communities.