National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month Brought to you by CuddleBugs at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center

MOORESVILLE, NC (September 6, 2013) — Healthy habits can last a lifetime

For most adults, practicing healthy eating habits and getting enough exercise is an ongoing challenge. But today, more than ever, our children are facing this same challenge. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past three decades.

However, there are a number of things parents can do to help children develop healthy habits at an early age — good habits that can last a lifetime. September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and CuddleBugs at Lake Norman Regional Medical center would like to offer some tips to help your entire family maintain a healthy weight.

Why weight is a concern

Although a CDC report released in August showed some signs of declining obesity rates in preschoolers in some states, it's still an epidemic. Previous research has shown that 1 in 8 preschoolers are obese in the U.S. According to the CDC, preschoolers who are overweight or obese are five times more likely than their normal-weight peers to be overweight or obese as adults.

In addition, overweight children may experience immediate health consequences — such as prediabetes, asthma and sleep disorders — and may be at risk for weight-related health problems in adulthood, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, joint problems, stroke, and several forms of cancer. Overweight children are also likely to experience social discrimination, which can affect self-esteem and confidence.

Weight management begins at home

The best ways to help children maintain a healthy weight is to eat healthier foods and get active as a family. The habits children learn at home can help set positive behaviors for lifelong weight management. To ensure your family eats a healthy diet, the health care professionals at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center suggest

  • Serving plenty of fruit, vegetables — especially dark red, green and orange vegetables — and whole-grain foods, and limiting sugar and saturated fat.
  • Choosing low- or non-fat dairy products.
  • Opting for healthy protein sources, such as lean meats, eggs, poultry, fish, lentils, legumes, and unsalted nuts and seeds.

To make healthy food appealing to children, get imaginative with food presentation. Use a cookie cutter to create different shapes, make funny faces with fruit, or use condiments or sauces to draw designs on the plate. Making healthy foods fun can encourage children to eat and enjoy foods that are good for them — use your imagination or get ideas from friends, magazines or online articles.

Make healthy eating and exercise family activities and everyone will benefit. These are excellent ways to spend quality time with each other and practice healthful habits together. Involve children in shopping and preparing meals, and enjoy them together as a family. By demonstrating key behaviors for maintaining a healthy weight, you’ll be instilling good habits that can last a lifetime.

About Lake Norman Regional Medical Center

Lake Norman Regional Medical Center offers comprehensive medical care to individuals throughout the greater Lake Norman region. Located just off I-77 at Exit 33, the Mooresville medical campus offers complete specialty services from 24-hour emergency medicine and maternity to oncology and advanced surgical services.

About CuddleBugs

CuddleBugs is a free program designed to provide answers to new and expectant moms from the earliest stages of pregnancy through post-delivery – including guidance for newborn care. For more information about CuddleBugs, visit www.CuddleBugsBaby.com.

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Remember that this information is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor, but rather to increase awareness and help equip patients with information and facilitate conversations with your physician that will benefit your health.