One in 3 children in the United States is overweight or obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The consequences of childhood obesity not only impact physical, but mental well-being as well. In a 2003 study published in JAMA, severely obese kids reported low quality of life similar to cancer patients!
The good news is that childhood obesity can be prevented. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports that obesity has dramatically declined among children aged 2 to 5 years - dropping from 14 percent in 2003-2004 to just over 8 percent in 2011-2012 – a decline of 43 percent.
In honor of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Yogi MD encourages your family to make healthy changes together. Here are some helpful tips. Get active outside by walking around the neighborhood, going for a bike ride, going to the park, or try yoga as a family. Limit screen time (time spent on the computer, watching TV, or playing video games) to 2 hours or less a day. Make healthy meals. Buy and serve more vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain foods. Cook together to encourage your child’s creativity and to provide choices. Watch this video for ideas for healthy school lunches. Most importantly, avoid overwhelm. Taking small steps as a family can help your child stay at a healthy weight.

I was sitting on the beach on a beautiful afternoon with my family, surrounded by a beautiful cacophony of sounds - from the waves lapping in the ocean, playful shouts, and laughter. To my right, was an extended family sharing food under a tent. Chairs, beach toys, towels, and coolers flanked them on all sides. Clearly, this was going to be an all day affair. The women sat together chatting. A baby sat happily on her mother’s lap. The children played in the sand and surf. To my left, a group of young men set up a makeshift baseball field and enjoyed their game. Behind me, a group of teenagers lay on beach towels surrounding a fire pit, where they would stay until it was time to build a fire, roast food and share stories and laughter. When we returned home, we had dinner together and played a board game.

Sharing time as a family can be a daunting task in our fast paced society. However, family time amongst working parents is on the rise according to a 2010 study by two economists at The University of California San Diego according to Tara Pope in the New York Times article “Surprisingly, Family Time Has Grown” . There are a wealth of benefits to spending quality time together as a family. The family unit benefits from strong connection, feeling supported and valued as individuals, and learning the meaning of a team. Children thrive in a strong family environment by learning healthy habits and building confidence from parents as role models.

Spending quality time together does not have to be complicated or expensive. From movies, games, or cooking together at home, to trips to the beach or the park, to bicycling or hiking in nature, the choices abound.

Promote peace while bonding with family at this free and exciting event courtesy of Chicago Kids Yoga!

Promote peace while bonding with family at this free and exciting event courtesy of Chicago Kids Yoga!

My story.