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Go Ask Mom

Heart association launches challenge to combat childhood obesity

Posted September 3, 2014

The American Heart Association is launching an effort this month to raise awareness about childhood obesity.

The EmpowerMEnt Challenge helps to mark National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. According to Eat Smart, Move More NC, two-thirds of all adults are overweight or obese. The state ranks the fifth worst in the United States for childhood obesity. Nearly one out of three children age 10 to 17 is overweight or obese, according to the group. 

The heart association will be celebrating good health with a fun event on Sept. 28 - the Triangle Heart Walk at PNC Arena. Go Ask Mom will be out there with activities. We are excited to be a part of it! 

The American Heart Association also is challenging families to take control of their health by pursuing a different goal each week in September. The EmpowerMEnt Challenge is designed to be a fun and inexpensive activity for families.

“The prevention of childhood obesity starts at home,” said Allee Harrell, Triangle Heart Walk Director, in a press release. “The American Heart Association wanted to do something fun and free for families that they could do together that would, in turn, lead to lasting changes in their home and their daily lives.”

For more information, you can go to the heart assocation's healthier kids website. To keep on track, families can share their successes on the Life is Why Facebook group and using the hashtag #LifeIsWhy.

Here's how the challenge works:  

Week 1: Empower your Cart. See how much you can boost your fruit and vegetable intake this week. Try a scavenger hunt in the store. See how many fruits and veggies your kids can find in 15 minutes or make the “Great Lunchbox Switch."

Week 2: Empower your Glass. Did you know sodas are one of the leading contributors to obesity? Help your kids start a healthy habit early by reaching for water first (and see if your grocery bill drops!).

Week 3: Empower your Taste. Most people have more than double the amount of sodium (or salt) their bodies need – which increases chances of high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and other problems. You can reduce the sodium you eat by comparing labels of similar products and choosing the one with less sodium, and using herbs, spices, citrus juices, and vinegars instead of salt to add flavor to foods.

Week 4: Empower your Movement. You don’t need to put on a perfect gym outfit and drive all the way across town. Just turn off the TV, grab the kids and get active. Screens Down, Laces Up!

The stroller-friendly and dog-friendly Triangle Heart Walk will raise money to support heart disease and stroke research, our state's No. 1 and No. 4 causes of death. Activities begin at 12:30 p.m., Sept. 28. The walk starts at 2 p.m. For details, check the Triangle Heart Walk's website.

As part of the effort, Go Ask Mom will be sharing healthy and tasty recipes courtesy of the American Heart Association on Fridays. So check back!

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