by Meaghan Harwood, DPT
Most of us are aware that waistlines have been increasing. You may have heard that two thirds of American adults are now considered overweight or obese. However, do you know how significantly the epidemic is striking our children? Recent statistics show that 1 in 3 children and adolescents 6-19 years are considered to be overweight or obese. Unhealthy children often turn into unhealthy adults. Although there are many factors contributing to the prevalence in both adults and children, there is a current push to address this problem in the younger generations. It is important to make more of an impact at any earlier age so that positive habits are learned early and carried throughout later years. There are many programs to address this epidemic, but the launch of the We Can!™ and Let’s Move™ campaigns are putting a renewed spotlight on this important issue. So what can you do? It is important to note that there are many aspects to the obesity epidemic – many more than can be addressed in this short blog – however the two major factors are food and activity. Diet + Movement = Prevention. So go outside and get active with your kids. Turn off the TV. Take a break from the computer screen. Put down the phone. Go take a family walk. Dust off the bikes and take a ride. Go apple picking. Small steps can lead to big rewards. Some of you may be using the excuse that your old hip injury flares up every time you try to get active or perhaps your teenager complains that their knee hurts when they exercise. If you or a family member has pain with activity, it is very possible that your physical therapist can help with suggestions for activities that would be best. Want to make a physical activity plan? Your physical therapist can help with that too. Everyone can do something. So go out there and move your body because “We Can!” change the trend.
For more information on the We Can campaign, go to www.nhlbi.nih.gov
For more information on the Let’s Move campaign, go to www.letsmove.gov
Dr. Harwood is a Physical Therapist at Boston Sports Medicine