Did you know that there are dreamers in the world who are passionate about the health of children? They devote their time to discovering and eliminating the causes of childhood obesity. It’s a complicated issue, fueled in part by a child’s social status and the neighborhood where they live. Both increase the likelihood of becoming overweight.
Big dreamers rally national support for their health initiatives to help overweight children, such as the National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month recognized each September when kids are returning to school. It’s an effort to bring awareness to the health issues surrounding the one in three American kids and teens dealing with obesity. Look at the children you see every day–in your neighborhood, in your church, and where you shop–you’ll find children dealing with this issue.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that obesity resides where you live. If you pay attention, you’ll recognize the children dealing with weight issues by their symptoms of low self-esteem, negative body images, and signs of clinical depression.
Positive messages to help fight Childhood Obesity.
I recently watched an eye-opening film about the subject of childhood obesity. The movie, Bite Size discusses obesity by showcasing four stories of inspiring kids with very diverse backgrounds and lifestyles.
The movie is thought-provoking. Listening to these kid’s stories and hearing their family perspective, thoughts by friends, and those who support their efforts are at times, painful. It’s not flowers, puppies, and rainbows.
The Bite Size movie is intense to watch at times, but I was glad the participant’s emotions are real and not overly dramatized. Telling such an emotional subject can be overwhelming. The movie handles the issue respectfully and earnestly.
Statistics of nationwide childhood obesity only speak to a part of the story.
Depending on the study you read the childhood obesity rates are 1 in 3.
America’s battle against childhood obesity is an issue too big for many to fully comprehend. With 1 in 3 children overweight, the epidemic is sweeping our nation at an unforgiving rate. But in spite of these odds, Bite Size showcases the stories of four inspiring kids from diverse backgrounds who are fighting for their health one day at a time. Proving that it’s not just about the number on a scale, what really matters is learning what keeps you active and makes you happy.- Bite Size movie
The numbers may tell us the financial impact nationwide, but they don’t reflect the teasing an overweight child endures or the long-term effect these interactions have on the decisions kids make in their lives.
Childhood obesity has increased more than fourfold among those ages 6 to 11. More than 23 million children and teenagers in the United States ages 2 to 19 are obese or overweight, a statistic that health and medical experts consider an epidemic.- National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
The most poignant discussions in the film are about how much family support matters. Decisions about cooking better at home, removing junk food from the house, and making changes to the eating habits of everyone in the family help these kids be successful.
The Bite Size movie isn’t specific about the type of diet and exercise kids should use, instead, the film focuses on general ideas of adding healthy lifestyle choices that a child will want to continue.
Exercise can mean anything that helps someone move and makes them happy.
If you want to help a child you have to find what they are passionate about, and as a parent, breathe life into it.- Felipe, Moises father, Bite Size movie.
Making healthy choices for childhood obesity takes one day at a time.
Getting healthy without community support makes success nearly impossible. Education and change need to be consistent in the home environment. Children learn what is acceptable from their surroundings, and healthy food choices happen when the atmosphere around a child supports it.
The end of the Bite Size movie features one-year follow-ups with the children highlighted. As a mother, my heart feels invested in what happens to these brave kids.
One of the leading children, Emily, spent months at a weight-loss boarding school, but after returning home and gaining some of the weight back, she had this to share about her experience:
It’s not about weight loss. It’s about learning what keeps you active and what makes you happy.- Emily, Bite Size movie
Helping make a lasting impact, where and when you can.
Have you struggled with weight since you were a kid? You can imagine what obese children have to face on a daily basis. The good news is there are ways we can support obese children and help spread the right messages in our communities, like:
Helping KeAnna, Davion, Emily, and Moy get healthy at school with fun exercises, positive messaging, nutrition and wellness education built into their schedule every day by donating to Bite Size’s favorite non-profit dedicated to fighting childhood obesity in school: My School in Motion!
The opportunity to help kids can also begin in your backyard. When I performed a quick internet search for “healthy school initiatives” I discovered a local solution where I can help. I found the Sonoma County Healthy Students Initiative. They assist local schools to promote health and well-being through increased physical activity and healthy eating.
What a great dream to help kids fight childhood obesity so they might live a long, healthy and happy life!
Heather Montgomery is a fitness writer, triathlete, and blogger who is devoted to sharing what she has learned about becoming a triathlete after age 40. She uses her Metabolic Training Certification to help other women struggling to get fit in mid-life. She lives and trains in Santa Rosa, California, the new home of the Ironman triathlon. You can find her biking the Sonoma County wine trails.