The hardest part of fighting back against childhood obesity is engaging children and parents, and getting them to enact changes that promote healthier living. During this year’s National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, The American Heart Association is hoping to bridge that gap with a four-week program.
The goal of The Life is Why Family Health Challenge is to help families get healthy by making simple, fun, and affordable choices that will lead them down the heart-healthy road as a family. To accomplish this, the AHA has created 4 different week-long challenges that families can participate in. Here is a breakdown of the challenge:
Week 1 – The first week is dedicated to eating more fruits and vegetables. This is a critical first step in promoting a healthier lifestyle, and it is often the easiest to incorporate into a child’s diet.
Week 2 – Avoid sugary beverage. It’s well-known that beverages like soda and energy drinks are loaded with sugar, so this week is about cutting them out of your diet. Instead, try healthier alternatives like flavoring water with fresh fruit.
Week 3 – Cut back on salt. According to the AHA, most people consume more than double the recommended amount of salt. Try experimenting with different herbs and seasonings, and keep the salt shaker in the spice rack.
Week 4 – Get active. By the third week of incorporating these changes, you and your family will hopefully find yourselves with some extra energy. The AHA suggests planning activities that will get your family active, like bike rides, hikes, or other engaging activities
While the Family Health Challenge may not be the most intensive program for reducing childhood obesity rates, incorporating these small changes is the perfect way for families of all kinds to make crucial health changes. The program is simple enough to benefit children of all ages, and does not require difficult or major changes to a child’s daily routine.
To learn more about the Life is Why Family Health Challenge, visit the American Heart Association’s website.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Michael Omidi
Dr. Michael Omidi is the co-founder of the Children’s Obesity Fund, and is an advocate for the health and wellbeing of children and adults.