A press release on August 14, from BeSmartBeWell.com, an award-winning website dedicated to helping the public be healthy and safe through increased awareness and simple-to-use knowledge, compares their 2009 Be Smart. Be Well. videos about the childhood obesity crisis with an update four years later. The question is, 'Are we winning the race?'
Dr. Sanchez says in the video, "The good news is that childhood obesity seems to have stabilized." While the leveling is a positive sign, the crisis is far from over, he cautions. "This is a marathon. Realize you've got a lot more steps to go to reach the finish line."
In June, the American Medical Association (AMA), the nation's largest physician organization, declared obesity a disease. The decision was not without some controversy. Dr. Sanchez responded to the decision in the video update and provided insight into how it may impact the battle against childhood obesity.
"There are some who believe that calling obesity a disease will let some people off the hook. I disagree," he says. "I think calling obesity a disease puts it front and center in front of individuals, physicians, society, in a way that says this isn't just a cosmetic issue. This is a medically important thing to address. I think that is the likely outcome, as opposed to a person saying, 'Well I've got a disease and I can't do anything about it.'"
Recently, Voices for Healthy Kids, a collaboration between the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, reported that several states and cities have seen a decline in childhood obesity rates. The CDC reported the first nationwide drop in obesity among low-income, very young children.
However, rates in low-income and minority communities remain high, and more needs to be done to address childhood obesity in those populations, according to Dr. Sanchez.
The communities that are seeing the most improvement in childhood obesity rates are those where parents, schools and communities are coming together to combat the problem together, according to Dr. Sanchez. As local and federal policies work to ensure healthy foods are available in schools and communities, parents must continue to set positive examples in the home, he says.
Dr. Sanchez recommends parents remember this formula: 5, 2, 1, 0. Serve five fruits and vegetables every day. Two is the maximum number of hours a child should spend on television, kindles, computers, etc. One is for the one hour, at least, that children should be doing something physical. The zero stands for the number of calories that should be allowed in liquids used to rehydrate the body.
Visit the website to learn more. It contains the following:
Easy-to-read content that explains the health risks associated with childhood obesity
Interviews with leading health experts and video stories of real kids who are making healthy decisions
Practical tips and advice
In-depth articles about childhood obesity and what parents can do to fight it
A quiz to test your childhood obesity knowledge
Reputable resources and links for more information
Among Georgia’s adolescents in grades 9 through 12, according to the CDC:
14.8 percent were overweight
12.4 percent were obese
Among Georgia's children aged two years to less than five years, three months:
15.8 percent were overweight
13.5 percent were obese
Look for future articles on the best snacks to send to school this year. A snack should be healthy, not full of empty calories and still pass the taste test.