Health Team

Super-Sizing Our Kids: N.C.'s Epidemic Of Overweight Children

Posted November 7, 2006 5:40 p.m. EST

Children in North Carolina face an alarming problem -- obesity. One in four teenagers is overweight, and one in five children ages 5 to 11 is overweight, according to the N.C. Nutrition and Physical Activity Surveillance System.

Being overweight is not just a physical issue. It can affect a child's emotional, mental and social well-being. There is progress being made in getting North Carolina kids up and moving and on the track to good health.

In North Carolina, most elementary schools offer physical education once a week for about 30 minutes.

There are lots of things parents can do to help their children:

  • "Eat Smart, Move More" is North Carolina's "call to action" for children and adults. The goal is to add more activity during a routine day. Take the stairs at work, school or the mall. Park away from your destination so you can get more walking into the day.
  • Children and parents must make postive lifestyle changes -- together.
  • Eat more meals at home as a family. We eat better when we eat at home, plus, there is social interaction -- giving parents the chance to teach children about healthy eating.
  • Do not encourage children to clean their plates. Instead, encourage them to eat until they feel satisfied. Once satisfied, push back from the table and get away from the food in the kitchen.
  • After a meal, go outside and get moving. A vigorous walk after dinner helps burn calories before bed and continues during sleep.
  • Physical activity clearly helps children grow up confident and with a strong sense of self.
  • Parents can set a good example by exercising with their children. Walk together, bike together, swim together and garden together.

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