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5 Tips to Preventing Childhood Obesity

Healthy Living


September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and as a leading community-based organization dedicated to improving health, The YMCA of Greater Birmingham offers the following tips to help families in Birmingham incorporate healthy eating and regular physical activity into their lives. These tips will not only help families live healthier together but also help prevent childhood obesity:

  1. Eat & Drink Healthy: Make water the drink of choice and encourage everyone to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables by offering two or three colorful options at every meal. As a family, choose a new fruit and veggie every week to taste together. Place a full pitcher of water on the table during meals, and allow children to pour their own water.
  2. Play Every Day/Go Outside: Children should have at least an hour a day of unstructured play outside (when possible) and break a sweat at least three times a week by getting 20 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity. Join your children in games that get your hearts pumping and bodies moving.
  3. Get Together: Eat as a family as frequently as possible. Involve kids in meal planning, preparation and clean up. In addition, adults should take a break from electronics and spend one-to-one time each day with their kids, enjoying one another’s company.
  4. Reduce Recreational Screen Time: Time spent in front of a television, computer, tablet, cell phone or video games should be limited to two hours or less per day. Make a family plan to reduce screen time at home (i.e. turn off screens during meals, go for a walk after a meal, set a timer to remind you to power down the screen).
  5. Sleep Well: Kids and adults need to keep a regular sleep schedule; unwind together in the evenings by reading a book or listening to soft music to ensure the body is preparing for sleep. Kids are growing and need 10-12 hours of healthy sleep per night and adults need seven to eight hours.

For more information on how your family can live a healthy, active life, visit or speak to your branch Healthy Living Director about how The YMCA of Greater Birmingham can help get your entire family involved!

-Jennifer Neil 

YMCA of Greater Birmingham, 

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