New statistics on obesity in Arizona are troubling. A study in this month’s Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine showed Arizona had the greatest increase in childhood obesity between 2003 and 2007. What is even more concerning is a near doubling of the rate of obesity in Arizona’s girls. According to the study, “The prevalence of obesity varied substantially across the states, with Mississippi having the highest prevalence (21.9%) and Oregon the lowest prevalence (9.6%).” Approximately 31% of Arizona’s children are overweight.
What can we do to improve the health of Arizona’s children? Here are my thoughts:
- Increase fruits and vegetables (5 per day). It’s hard to gain weight by overeating these healthful foods.
- Increased access to physical activity and reduced time spent in front of the TV (no more than 2 hours daily). Obesity rates increase with screen time. Sending kids outside when they are bored allows them to find active ways to deal with down time. They will naturally increase their activity, and stay away from the fridge. I rarely see kids outside sitting or lying down.
- Eliminate the intake of sweet beverages. Intake of sweetened beverages increase the intake of calories.