Childhood obesity is escalating at an alarming rate across the country, and Ohio is no exception. Children are increasingly developing medical conditions once reserved for adults, such as Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension. In addition to health risks, childhood obesity exerts a financial and emotional impact. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity related annual hospital costs for children and youth have more than tripled in the past two decades, rising from $35 million in 1979-1981 to $127 million in 1997-1999. Harsh words from peers also contribute to the emotional impact felt by overweight children.
The two greatest factors contributing to childhood obesity, lack of physical activity and poor eating habits need to be addressed in order to bring children and entire families together in focusing on a healthy weight. Lower-income communities pose a particular challenge for families, as they often have fewer safe areas and facilities for physical activity, and fewer supermarkets with affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. Becoming an advocate for changing policies in schools and communities to encourage healthy lifestyle choices in nutrition and physical activity will help reverse this epidemic.
The Play More Campaign
The Ohio Department of Health is taking greater steps to reduce childhood overweight and obesity through proactive social marketing awareness. This challenge is significant, but the solution is rooted in awareness and education that will help change eating and physical activity behavior. The Play More campaign will help raise the awareness of this problem and provide children and their parents/caregivers with the skills needed to make healthier choices. The main messages of Play More include:
- Childhood obesity in Ohio is an alarming epidemic for parents and children – but there is hope.
- Children and parents need to play more. Playing is more than just fun- it is part of the solution.
- Including healthy foods into your diet will help you and your children create healthier tomorrows.
Who knew being healthy could be so much fun? Play More.
Last Reviewed 4/10/12