Obesity affects millions of children across the United States. In Wisconsin, nearly one in seven children are obese. This is troubling because obesity is related to health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. While these problems do not usually appear until adulthood, they can result from unhealthy habits that begin in childhood.
Many factors influence a child’s weight, but families can take action. To prevent or reverse childhood obesity, promote positive environments around two topics: physical activity and healthy eating habits. Family Health La Clinica (FHLC) can help families understand childhood obesity and support them in protecting their child’s health.
“The goal is for kids to develop healthy eating habits and stay physically active, which will improve their health now and, in the future,” says Dr. Anne Means, Pediatrician at FHLC. “Adults should model these healthy habits and teach positive attitudes toward food and physical activity.” Each child is unique, so speak with your child’s doctor about what will work best for you and your family.
No matter the age, kids should get away from the screen and get active in ways that are fun for them – dancing, swimming, running, jumping, climbing, etc. The CDC recommends that children aged 6 to 17 get physically active for at least 60 minutes a day. Children younger than six years old should be active throughout the entire day. Getting physically active together as a family is a great place to start.
When thinking about food, focus on a well-rounded diet. Offer a variety of whole fruits, vegetables, and proteins such as beans or lean meats. Choose whole-grains and low-fat or fat-free dairy. Paying attention to what you drink and snack on is also essential to maintaining a healthy diet. Drink water instead of sugary drinks and choose healthy snacks that are low in calories and high in vitamins and nutrients.
Family Health La Clinica Community Health Center provides primary medical, dental, behavioral health, and substance recovery services to patients of all ages and income levels. They accept private insurance, Medicaid (BadgerCare), Medicare, and uninsured. A sliding fee discount program is available for those who are income eligible. Call toll free at 1-800-942-5330 to schedule an appointment at any of their five locations. For more information, visit them at famhealth.com and follow them on social media @fhlcchc.