Children as decision makers

10 Jun

Sneaky-ways-for-your-child-to-eat-vegetables

The United States is facing an obesity epidemic. In Georgia alone, 70% of adults, and 40% of children are obese. In general, obese people die 20 years earlier than those who are not. The messages have been everywhere, establishing that we all need to begin taking better care of ourselves and our loved ones. Sometimes, it may feel like this epidemic is refusing to loosen its grip on our society. Recently Danielle Comer, a student intern from Georgia Southern University, working at our Extension office in DeKalb County attended a conference with the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, at The University of Georgia. The conference entitled “Family and Community as Pathways for Health: Obesity Prevention and Intervention Strategies”, allowed several well renown speakers to present the most recent approaches to tackle the obesity problem. Dr. Jerry Gale, a professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, desired for the conference to encourage people to take immediate action.

Danielle reported back to us with great enthusiasm about her experiences at the conference. A summary of the presentations include the emphasis speakers made about the importance of good nutrition and physical activity as ways to fight obesity. If you have children, it is a great idea to involve them in meal planning by giving them several options. When parents buy healthy options they can give the children healthy options to choose from. They will not need to worry about the whole process and the children still have a say in what the family will eat; and the parents know that it will be nutritious. Using the “choosemyplate.gov” website can help with finding healthy selections and portions.

Later in the conference, Dr. Diane Bale, a professor of Human Development, Extension specialist in early childhood care and education, and co-creator of the Eat Healthy, Be Active initiative, spoke about activity and staying active, with a focus on children. She reminded the audience that children are naturally active and should be encouraged to stay active, in order to prevent obesity. Being active does not necessarily mean “exercising.” She admits that sometimes when children are told to exercise they do not always seem to be engaged and view exercise as a chore. Instead, she recommends playing in ways that keep children moving. Activity can and should be made fun, to avoid discouragement and negative mindsets about movement.

So let’s take action! Eat right, Move and Play.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: