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September, "National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month"

by Molly S. on Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The White House has declared September as National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month to "encourage all Americans to learn about and engage in activities that promote healthy eating and greater physical activity by all our Nation's children."

This proclamation is definitely needed to raise awareness of childhood obesity. In the annual F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2013, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America's Health reveal that childhood obesity has been increasing substantially over the last 30 years. Now, 1 in every 3 children is overweight or obese. Here in Florida, obesity rates have held steady this year, indicating that our efforts are working. Before we start celebrating, it's important to realize that the obesity rates still remain extremely high, so our work is not done.

One way the American Heart Association will continue to improve our children's health is by protecting Physical Education in schools. Right now, we understand that Representative Janet Adkins (R-Nassau and Duval) is interested in reforming the middle school curriculum, focusing on rigorous academic criteria and removing P.E. We will need your help to remind Representative Adkins - and all of our elected officials - how important P.E. is to our children during this time in their lives. We must be diligent in our message of prevention of obesity and practice good preventative measures during the school day. Besides combating obesity, P.E. has also been linked to higher test scores, better social behavior and better classroom behavior.

We know that there is no silver bullet to prevent obesity. It is a complex puzzle in which all pieces must fit before we start to turn the tables. But it starts first with common sense above all else. With the White House proclaiming September as National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, we hope this will continue the momentum seen in the past years to fight this epidemic.

How will you celebrate National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month?

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