September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
The American College of Sports Medicine sponsors September as National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. In America, one out of every three children qualifies as either overweight or obese, putting them at an increased risk for health issues that were once limited to adults: high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and even heart disease.
As scary as this sounds, the good news is that by working together, we can prevent childhood obesity. Health professionals, parents and family members, and communities can work together to ensure children have the means to eat healthier meals and participate in more physical activities.
What Can You Do to Help?
Pharmacists play a critical role in face-to-face communication with patients and their families – sometimes seeing them more often than their primary care doctor. Use that time with patients to help educate and spread awareness.
- Provide pamphlets about childhood obesity with prevention and tips for addressing it early, for patients to look at while they’re waiting for medication.
- Be available to answer any questions about childhood obesity.
Beyond speaking directly with pharmacy patients, you can:
- Share information about childhood obesity in your company newsletter, on your social media profiles, website, etc. The S. Department of Health and Human Services has a number of resources you can use, including informative infographics and pre-written content for easy sharing.
- Reach out to local doctors and nurses to ask them to support programs to prevent childhood obesity.
- Partner with We Can! – a national movement to encourage children ages 8 through 13 to maintain a healthy weight.
- Talk to local schools about meeting directly with students to educate about obesity and prevention.
- Host or participate in a community event to cleanup a neighborhood park so children have a safe place to be active.
- Host a community fitness event to allow families to get active while they learn about health and fitness resources available in your area.
- Encourage schools in your local area to join the HealthierUS School Challenge.
- Compile and distribute a list of seasonal fruits and vegetables, local farmers markets, and healthy recipes. This helps people learn how to keep costs down by eating what’s in season in your local area, and helps them get creative about what to make for dinner.
Most importantly, make yourself an example to others in your community. Eat healthy, get enough exercise, get enough sleep, and limit your screen time. If you aren’t already setting that example, make small changes in your own lifestyle. Small changes add up to big results!