Colorado Plains Medical Center Supports National Childhood Obesity Initiative

August 26, 2016

Across the U.S., nearly 30 percent of children are overweight or obese – that’s one in every three kids.

As part of Colorado Plains Medical Center’s commitment to making communities healthier, the hospital is proud to support National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, an initiative aimed at decreasing obesity rates among the nation’s youth. This disease affects more than 12 million children between the ages of two and 19, and can lead to long-term health problems including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and even premature death.  

According to Amy Prince, MD, pediatrician on staff at Colorado Plains Medical Center, there are several small steps families can take to ensure their children get the right start in life and set the stage for a lifelong commitment to healthy living.

Eat colorfully. Introducing children to a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables will help them develop healthy eating habits. For breakfast, try oatmeal or yogurt with fresh fruit instead of sugary cereals and breakfast pastries. For lunch, pack carrot chips, celery sticks, apple slices, grapes and other fun fruits and vegetables that are filling and also taste good. For dinner, let kids help cook – they may be more likely to eat their vegetables if they help prepare them.

Teach mindful eating. Mindless eating is something most individuals will be guilty of at one point or another. Help children learn to be mindful of what they are eating, when they are eating, and why they are eating. Try to keep food limited to the kitchen, discourage children from eating while watching television, and encourage kids to play outside to curb snacking when they may not even be hungry.

Exercise regularly. It’s no secret that children are little imitators, and they will pick up the habits of the adults in their lives. If exercise is made an important part of the parents’ routine, chances are, they will do the same.

“The good news is, it doesn’t have to be an intense, seven-days-a-week sweat fest. Taking evening walks as a family or playing outside with your children are fun and easy ways to incorporate exercise into your routine and be a good example for your kids,” notes Prince.

Taking these small steps now can add up and have a big impact on the overall health and well-being of children as well as the entire family. Colorado Plains Medical Center also recommends regular wellness exams with a primary care physician. Annual checkups help ensure that a child is growing and developing properly and also can help detect potential health problems in their earliest stages. If you need to find a primary care physician, visit www.ColoradoPlainsMedicalCenter.com and search the physician finder or call 1-800-424-DOCS (3627), a toll free number for recommendations, information, and appointments.