September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and the YMCA is reminding parents about the importance of incorporating regular physical activity and healthier eating habits into their children’s lives.
Childhood obesity rates have soared over the last few decades. The New York State Department of Health estimates that one in four New Yorkers under the age of 18, or approximately 1.1 million young people, is obese. More alarming, obesity puts children at risk for chronic diseases often seen in adults, such as high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and type-2 diabetes. New York State’s $3.5 billion in annual obesity-attributable Medicaid expenditures is the highest of any state. This health crisis sheds light on the need to provide children and their parents with the resources and the support they need, emphasizing that small steps can lead to big results to reverse the trend.
“The Y is for healthy living both inside and outside of our facilities and we recognize that mobilizing the community, teaming up with schools and supporting policies that facilitate healthier choices will play a fundamental role in our struggle against childhood obesity in New York State.” said Kyle Stewart, Executive Director of the Alliance of New York State YMCAs. “This is a concern relevant to all New Yorkers and we plan to engage the community at every opportunity”
One key to fighting childhood obesity is prevention. Regular physical activity – 60 minutes a day for children – and nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains can lower children’s chances of becoming obese or overweight and developing chronic diseases. It’s important to note that 60 minutes of physical activity can be achieved through a number of activities throughout the entire day – it doesn’t have to be done all at once. As a leading nonprofit strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y believes that getting kids more active and allowing them to play is an important factor in improving their health.
“At the Y, we know that many families struggle to find the time and resources to eat healthier and set aside time for physical activity every day,” said Stewart “So we tailor our programs to meet the needs of families in the community to help make the healthier choice an easier choice.”
To learn more about the YMCA’s Healthy Living Programs, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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About the Alliance of New York State YMCAs
At the Alliance of New York State YMCAs, Inc., we know that when we work with one voice, we can move individuals, communities and the Empire State forward. As each Y works tirelessly to provide support to our families and neighbors, the YMCAs of New York State, Inc. works to foster statewide communication and cooperation among Ys. Our organization will constantly advocate for issues of importance to New York State's Ys and the millions of children and families they serve.