Issue No. 38
| National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month|
is a comprehensive initiative, launched by the First Lady, dedicated to solving the problem of childhood obesity . . .
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September marks a new beginning for millions of schoolchildren across the country who began classes this month. And amidst the many challenges that go along with childhood, one stands out today more than ever: obesity. September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, which means it's a great time to evaluate your family's health and make changes if your children may be overweight or obese. While many states are showing decreases in childhood obesity, the truth is, one out of every eight preschoolers (12 percent) is obese. What can you do to keep your family healthy? Check out our health guide to the left and the article below to get some facts about childhood obesity -- and some guidance on overcoming this health risk.
Health care -- for both young and old -- is on many minds these days as the major changes of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act continue to roll out. What's in it for you? Read the article below to find out. And for more information on national health care reform, be sure to subscribe to Brethren Insurance Services' bi-weekly e-alert system, ReformWatch.
The change of seasons is a blessing -- it reveals the many magical stages of creation. May you enjoy this transition from summer to autumn in a healthful and happy way.
Scott, Tammy, and Connie
How to take the childhood obesity epidemic seriously
Help your child -- and your whole family -- eat healthy and stay physically active. The healthy habits your child learns now can last a lifetime.
What can I do to help my child stay at a healthy weight?
Help your child stay at a healthy weight by balancing what your child eats with physical activity. Two of the best ways to prevent overweight and obesity in your child are to --
- Eat healthier foods.
- Get more active as a family.
You are a role model.
Parents are often the most important role models for children. When you eat right and are physically active, your child will be more likely to make these choices, too. Plus, getting active and eating healthy as a family will help you spend more quality time together.
Why do I need to worry about my child's weight?
Americans are getting heavier. Today, most adults are overweight or obese. Children are becoming heavier, too. Overweight and obesity in children can lead to serious problems, like --
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Sleep problems
- Low self-esteem
- Getting bullied
Being overweight as a child increases the risk of being overweight or obese as an adolescent and young adult. In other words, many kids don't "grow out of" being overweight.
Is my child at a healthy weight?
Children grow at different rates, so it's not always easy to tell if your child is at a healthy weight. Overweight is defined differently for children and teens than it is for adults. Ask your child's doctor or nurse whether your child is at a healthy weight.
What if my child is overweight or obese?
Successful weight management programs for kids include counseling and education about eating a healthy diet and getting physically active. Parents have an important role to play in these programs, too. Talk to your child's doctor or nurse for more information.
Ask the doctor to screen your child for obesity.
Your child's doctor or nurse can tell you if your child is at a healthy weight. If your child is overweight or obese, ask the doctor or nurse to help you find a weight-loss program for your child that includes counseling to help kids --
- Make healthy choices about food.
- Get more physical activity.
Make sure your child gets at least 60 minutes (one hour) of physical activity every day.
It doesn't have to be 60 minutes all at once -- it can be shorter activities that add up to one hour a day. Fun activities that children do on their own are best. For example, playing tag is a great way to get moving. Be sure your child is doing different types of activity, including --
- Aerobic activities, like running, skipping, or dancing.
- Muscle-strengthening activities, like climbing playground equipment or trees.
- Bone-strengthening activities, like jumping rope or playing basketball.
Make getting active a family project.
- Let children pick family activities.
- Try walking the dog or biking to the library together.
- Post a family activity calendar on your refrigerator.
- Find a park to explore near your home.
- Plan your next outdoor family activity.
Limit screen time.
Keep inactive (sitting down) screen time to two hours or less a day for kids age 2 and older. Exercise TV shows or video games where your child moves around are a better choice than inactive screen time, but most of them don't count as physical activity time.
- Set clear rules about when and for how long your child can watch TV, use the computer, and play video games.
- Keep the TV out of your child's room.
- Track how much time your family is spending in front of a screen.
Shop, cook, and plan for healthy meals.
Buy and serve more vegetables, fruits, and whole grain foods. Here are some tips and ideas --
- Make a shopping list with healthy foods.
- Read the Nutrition Facts label on packages to help you make healthy choices.
- Let your child pick out healthy foods to try.
- Give children age 2 and older water or fat-free or low-fat milk instead of soda or juice. Children under age 2 can drink whole milk.
- Lower the fat and sugar in family meals and snacks.
- Help children know when they've had enough. Give your kids a chance to stop eating when they feel full.
You can be a role model for your child by making smart food choices. Plus, a healthy diet can help protect you from heart disease, some types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Start the day with a good breakfast.
Skipping breakfast can make kids hungry and tired, and it may lead them to snack on junk food later in the day. Give your kids whole-grain cereal with fat-free or low-fat milk and fruit instead of sugary cereal.
Make healthy snacks.
Snacks give kids important nutrients and help control hunger between meals.
Sit at the table and eat together as a family.
When families eat together, children eat more vegetables and fruits and less junk food. Plan healthy, affordable meals and enjoy them as a family. Let children help pick out healthy foods, prepare meals, and set the table.
Make sure your child gets enough sleep.
If kids don't get enough sleep, they are at higher risk of being overweight or obese.
- Teens need at least 9 hours of sleep each night.
- School-aged children need at least 10 hours of sleep each night.
- Preschoolers sleep between 11 and 12 hours a day.
- Newborns sleep between 16 and 18 hours a day.
Set a bedtime schedule and remind your child when it's time to get ready for bed.
|How the health care law protects you -- even if you already have health insurance|
Learn more using ReformWatch, a news service about the Affordable Care Act from Brethren Insurance Services.
| Long-Term Care Insurance|
According to a study by the Alzheimer's Association, the direct costs of caring for those with Alzheimer's to American society in 2013 will total an estimated $203 billion, including $142 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid. Fortunately, a long-term care insurance policy could help offset some of the custodial care costs associated with Alzheimer's or another debilitating illness. Secure your finances -- consider starting a long-term care insurance proposal with Brethren Insurance Services today.
Planning ahead for your medical future could save you in the long run. If you are interested in obtaining this coverage, contact Brethren Insurance Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-746-1505 for a free, no-obligation proposal or click here to request more information.