10 Specific Things You Can Do to Prevent Childhood Obesity
1. Be an example to your kids. Be physically active. Promote healthy eating. Strive for and maintain a normal weight.
2. Write a letter to the editor. Let your voice be heard in your local paper or newsletter. Let people know this is one of the most serious and worsening health problems in the country affecting our young people.
3. Joint the Parent Teacher Organization of your local schools. Ask about healthy hot lunches, snacks and meals for all the school children.
4. Write your member of congress. While you are bringing out the pen and paper, send a personal letter to your congressional representative. Let them know what a devastating problem this is in your community and in the nation. Collectively we can do something about it, but it will take change from the highest levels of government. A sample of such a letter is available at www.obesitypreventionfoundation.org.
5. Get outside! Take the neighborhood children outside at least three times a week for some vigorous activity. Take a long walk but bring a Frisbee or a football with you so you can run and catch during the walk. Make it fun and interesting for the kids.
6. Bring it to the Club. The importance of childhood obesity must be brought to the consciousness of everyone. If you belong to Rotary or Elks or a country club, or just your own reading group, bring it up at the club and encourage everyone to get engaged.
7. Support local school extracurricular activities and sports. One of the reasons schools must turn to fast food and soft drink sponsors, is that no one else is stepping up to the plate. Attend the games, encourage your community to take an active interest in sports and extracurricular activities that are “active” for the kids in your area. Then find ways to support them financially.
8. Volunteer. Public school libraries, hospitals and clinics, boys and girls clubs, youth programs: all of these programs, organizations and centers need volunteers. Be a volunteer who also brings awareness about healthy eating and exercise. If you read to toddlers or school children, make it active; between books or chapters stand up, do jumping jacks, go outside, walk, emphasize the importance of physical activity and healthy eating whenever you get a chance.
9. Be a volunteer coach. Today more than ever, the sports and extracurricular activities for youth depend upon coaches and parents who are in short supply and lead busy lives. If you once played soccer or volleyball or anything else, you might make a perfect volunteer assistant coach at a local school. Who knows, you may get tapped to start a new team or a junior varsity or, in some other way, bring in more children into an athletic environment. You could change a life.
10. Join the Obesity Prevention Foundation community today. And tell two friends. This project, to prevent childhood obesity, will take all of us. And together we can make a very important difference in the lives of young people.