Parents Key to Solving Childhood Obesity Problem
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Nearly 70 percent of Tennessee adults and almost 40 percent of children are either obese or overweight, according to the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Dr. Janet Colson, associate professor in the Nutrition and Food Science Program at Middle Tennessee State University, says this combination can actually be an opportunity for family team-building. Deeper attachments can be forged between parents and children as they strive for physical fitness, she explains.
"Even if we're watching a family TV show, during the commercial you can get up and move, or a parent can sit there and be watching with the child and say, 'Oh, let's get up and jump around to the beat!'"
Colson says children learn best when they're moving, and that a mind/body connection can help even very young kids be more physically active.
"If you're teaching kindergartners or first graders how to count to ten, say, 'Okay, let's stand up and count to ten. Let's do jumping jacks while we're counting to ten.'"
The federal statistics indicate Tennessee is the second most obese state in the nation, a condition that involves almost three million people, including thousands of children. Government estimates are that obesity and its accompanying health-related problems – including heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes – cost the state nearly $2 billion each year.