September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

The fifth annual National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month kicked off Sept. 1, encouraging all Americans to take steps to reduce the effects of the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States. More than 23 million children and teenagers in the United States are overweight or obese, according to recent data. Childhood obesity is linked to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, breathing problems, joint problems, fatty liver disease and other health concerns. The epidemic also places a financial burden on all of us: Obesity requires $14 billion per year in direct health care costs in the United States.

Childhood Obesity Awareness Month invites individuals to take action in their own communities and organizations to build awareness about the causes and implications of childhood obesity and – most importantly – to take steps to prevent and combat it. The movement is recognized by Congress and the White House and is promoted by the American College of Sports Medicine and other partners. It is an alliance of diverse advocates who recognize that eating sensibly and being physically active are keys to better health and quality of life.

“Kids are less physically active now than any previous generation,” said Carol Ewing Garber, Ph.D., president of the American College of Sports Medicine. “Research leaves no doubt that being active is a key to maintaining fitness and a healthy weight. I hope everyone from health professionals and parents to those in corporations and community groups will do what they can to promote awareness and action toward reducing childhood obesity.”

To get involved in Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, use the toolkit available at www.coam-month.org, adapt what others have tried, and see how you can build awareness and action toward the shared goal.