National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month – an observance that coincides with the return of children to the classroom. This convergence of events leads many parents to ask one question, “how can I ensure that my child receives a nutritious diet now that they are back in school?”

Obesity rates among children have tripled over the past three decades. It’s now estimated that 16% of children are classified as obese. It is also estimated that children who are obese are ten times more likely to become obese as adults than other children. Since most children consume half of their daily caloric intake while in school, concentrating on providing them with a healthy and balanced diet while they are there is essential in the battle against obesity.

For many parents, the decision of whether to pack lunch from home or buy lunch from school is a difficult one. Some parents question the nutritional value of school lunches. Parents who have this concern should know that in recent years, schools have implemented new standards for the nutritional value of meals to align with U.S. dietary guidelines. Processed lunches that used to be high in fat, sugar, and sodium have been replaced with meals that meet or exceed national standards. School meals now also feature a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low or fat-free milk.

For those who still opt to pack their child’s lunch, they can improve their child’s diet and reduce their chances of becoming obese by following some simple tips:

  • Choose whole wheat breads instead of white bread when making sandwiches
  • Use fresh fruits instead of canned or processed alternatives
  • Fill a sandwich bag with something other than a sandwich. There are many other food options for your kids to snack on, such as carrots, nuts, granola, or raisins.
  • Initiate a salad day. Prepare the basics the night before and have your child choose some toppings including sliced chicken or turkey or low-fat cheese.
  • Introduce wraps as an option to a boring old sandwich. Give it extra flavor by coating with a low-fat spread and fill it with lettuce and protein.  You can cut the wrap into pinwheel slices for fun.
  • Invest in a thermos and fill it up with mac and cheese or your child’s favorite soup, stew or pasta.
  • Encourage your child to drink plenty of water instead of sugary juice boxes or soda. Sugary drinks are considered one of the leading causes of childhood obesity.

Whether your child buys or packs lunch, it’s important to stay involved. Talk to them about what food choices they made and discuss the many benefits eating a healthy diet has on both their mind and body.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Babyfat or Obesity?

Very funny baby watching her weight, isolated on white

In many cases efforts to curb childhood obesity are aimed at children who are school-aged.  However, new research suggests that interventions directed towards this group may be too late.

The most recent evidence indicates that pivotal times to introduce preventative efforts in your child’s life are during infancy and the toddler years.

According to experts, there are several measures you can take to prevent obesity and keep your baby at a healthy weight.

The Mayo Clinic recommends:

  • Monitor your weight gain during pregnancy.Excessive weight gain during pregnancy can increase a baby’s birth weight. Research suggests that as birth weight increases, so does the risk of childhood obesity.
  • Breast-feed.Some research suggests that breast-feeding reduces the risk of childhood obesity.
  • Limit sugar-sweetened drinks.Juice isn’t a necessary part of a baby’s diet. As you start introducing solid foods, consider offering nutritious fruits and vegetables instead.
  • Experiment with ways to soothe your baby.Don’t automatically turn to breast milk or formula to quiet your baby’s cries. Sometimes a new position, a calmer environment or a gentle touch is all that’s needed.
  • Limit media use.The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages media use by children younger than age 2. The more TV your child watches, the greater his or her risk is of becoming overweight.

It is important to keep in mind that your child needs a diet that is high in healthy fats to foster growth during infancy and caloric restrictions aimed at reducing weight is not recommended for babies under the age of two.  It is highly suggested that you speak to your doctor about age-appropriate dietary guidelines before implementing any changes.

If you feel that you child may be overweight or you would like more information about childhood obesity, please contact Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center at 718-206-7001 to make an appointment.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Senator Comrie and Jamaica Hospital -Promoting Wellness Through Walking

Walk Park

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center Community Outreach Department applaud the steps Senator Leroy Comrie is taking to prevent childhood and adult obesity by promoting healthier lifestyle options that include walking.

Obesity is a problem that affects many Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approximately one-third, or 78.6 million Americans are obese. In addition, 17%, or 12.7 million children are obese. Obesity is a leading cause of a number of serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer

Living a healthy lifestyle, which includes physical activity, in combination with a healthy diet is the best way to combat obesity. While many forms of physical activity require time and financial commitments that many of us do not have, one of the easiest ways to get your daily dose of physical activity is through walking.

Walking is very important for weight control. Of course, the more you walk and the quicker your pace, the more calories you’ll burn.  Generally speaking, by adding 30 minutes of brisk walking to your daily routine, you could burn approximately 150 calories a day. If you walk at a more vigorous pace and for a longer duration of time, you can burn even more calories and lose even more weight.

Senator Leroy Comrie and other local elected officials understand the importance of promoting physical activity to combat obesity, so together they created the “Walk for Wellness” event. This second annual series of walks are held in various parks and playgrounds through Southeast Queens on select Saturdays. The walks began in June and continue into October. Each walk begins at 8:30 a.m. and is open to all.

According to Senator Comrie, “The Walk for Wellness event was created to be a community-wide initiative to combat obesity. By supporting one another in this effort, we can really make a difference by improving our health and the health of our neighbors.”

Of course, if you have underlying health issues, speak to a doctor before beginning any exercise program. If you do not have a doctor, you can call Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center at 718-206-7001 to schedule an appointment to determine how much walking is appropriate for you.

To learn more about the Walk for Wellness event, please call Senator Comrie’s office at 718-454-0162.

 

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.