Fighting Childhood Obesity with Motivation, Nutrition and Fitness

More food consumption and less physical activity seems to be a popular trend in our society, especially with children. In fact, childhood obesity has almost tripled over the past 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Furthermore, in 2007, the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ) published a study stating that 28.8 percent of children in Maryland were considered to be either overweight or obese.

According to the CDC, the term overweight means “having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water or a combination of these factors.” Obesity, meanwhile, is defined as “having excess body fat.”

Those alarmingly high statistics have led the CDC to declare childhood obesity a national epidemic. Being overweight is serious. It increases the risks of health issues such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol — which can lead to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and many types of cancer.

With obesity becoming more prevalent in our culture, Columbia Association (CA) is working relentlessly to help its residents stay fit and active.

CA offers a program called Columbia YouthFit, which was developed by child care and mental health professionals and pediatricians. YouthFit is a physician referral health program designed to help families lose weight through motivation, physical activity and healthy eating.

“The main reason why families should consider YouthFit is because the program offers the three key components to overcoming childhood weight problems: nutrition education, physical activity, and behavior changes — for all family members,” says Shawni Paraska, director of community health sustainability at CA.

The eight-week program is held at Columbia Gym on Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The next session begins on October 3.

For more information, please contact Shawni Paraska, director of community health sustainability, at 410-715-3128, Shawni.Paraska@ColumbiaAssociation.org, or visit Columbia YouthFit’s website.

Keithan Samuels works in the Communications and Engagement Division at Columbia Association (CA).

 


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