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September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month Healthy Living Tips

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and as a leading community-based organization dedicated to improving health, the YMCA of Austin offers the following tips to help families in Mower County incorporate healthy eating and regular physical activity into their lives.

During Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, the YMCA encourages children to play outside.

The following tips will not only help families live healthier together but help prevent childhood obesity as well:

Eat & Drink Healthy: Make water the drink of choice (supplemented by age-appropriate servings of low-fat milk) and make it easy for everyone to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables by offering two or three colorful options at every meal. Feel free to mix and match fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables to provide variety. Place a full pitcher of water on the table during meals, and allow children to pour their own water.

Play Every Day/Go Outside: Kids should have at least an hour a day of unstructured play outside (when possible) and break a sweat at least three times a week by getting 20 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity. Join your children in games that get your hearts pumping and bodies moving.

Get Together: Eat as a family as frequently as possible. Involve kids in meal planning, preparation and clean up. In addition, adults should take a break from electronics and spend one-to-one time each day with their kids, enjoying one another’s company.

Reduce Recreational Screen Time: Time spent in front of a television, computer, tablet, cell phone or video games should be limited to two hours or less per day. Make a family plan to reduce screen time at home (i.e. turn off screens during meals, keep a chart, go for a walk after a meal).

Sleep Well: Kids and adults need to keep a regular sleep schedule; go to bed and rise from bed within 1 hour of the same time every day. Kids are growing and need 10-12 hours of healthy sleep per night and seven to eight hours for adults.

Every Friday is Family Day at the YMCA of Austin. Stop by for lots of fun, including swimming, activities and many themed nights. Check out all of our Family Time programs we offer throughout the year! And don’t forget about our Youth Sports, where children learn sportsmanship, skills and parents are encouraged to coach the teams. (All parents interested in coaching, call Scott Simmons at 507-433-1804).

New this year, the Y is offering a special program for families with children who carry excess weight. The program, called Healthy Weight and Your Child, offers support, education and activity to families over 25 sessions throughout a one-year period. To learn more about this program, call Jill Wagner, Program Coordinator.

For more information on how your family can live a healthy, active life, stop by the YMCA of Austin at 704 1st Drive NW or call 507-433-1804.