In spite of research, new nutrition labeling guidelines, and school and community campaigns, childhood obesity continues to be a concern for the health of our nation. Two years ago, CBS News Health Watch reported that obesity-related hospitalizations of youth had almost doubled, and numerous other conditions โ€” also related to obesity โ€” were on the rise.

Last year, First Lady Michelle Obama brought direct attention to the issue with her campaign against childhood obesity. She wants parents to have information to help them make better food choices, schools to serve healthy lunches, healthy food to be readily available, and wants to see children get adequate amounts of physical activity.

Her campaign, Let's Move, provides families with nutrition tips and facts, fitness suggestions, and invites communities across the nation to get involved.

The American Academy of Pediatrics calls childhood obesity "a serious health problem," and has dedicated numerous resources to bring awareness and combat the problem.

Here at Parenting Squad, we have been on board with childhood obesity prevention tips and research information for families. Even as the obesity rates soar, however, there are concerns about schools and school districts cutting recess and P.E. time.

Now Dannon, makers of yogurt and Danimals products for children, are the sponsors of a nationwide Rally for Recess event that could bring better play equipment to schools. Students or parents can sign up and choose up to six schools for which they would like to earn points.

"Rally for Recess is designed to create healthy competition, pitting school against school! Five schools have the opportunity to win new playground equipment and an all-day recess celebration. Danimals is committed to childhood health and wellness, which starts with good nutrition and an active lifestyle. Through February 8, 2012 purchasers can find codes on Danimals packaging (or free by mail) to enter and register their school online. The top school in each of five categories with the most codes registered wins!"

Tips for Encouraging Physical Activity

Get Children Outdoors

Set a rule: so much time outdoors after school, after supper, on weekend mornings โ€” whatever works best for your family's schedule.

Limit Media

Make rules for amounts of time children can spend with cell phones, televisions, texting devices, and computers.

Participate in Active Activities as a Family

Take a walk, take a hike, go to a new park, go on a bike ride, race down your sidewalk, head to a park or ball field, and organize a game with other families. You don't have to do these things every day, but getting the family together regularly for physical activities as your children grow up demonstrates an example from you that will hopefully turn into good habits for them.

See Also: