Kids spend a staggering 5.5 hours playing or watching some sort of media according to the state of Maryland. Organizations such as the NFL and the National Dairy Council have teamed up to combat this alarming statistic by promoting physical activity in schools. Fuel Up to Play 60 is open to area schools in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, as well as nationwide. Go to Fuel Up to Play 60 to find out how your tween’s school can participate. Starting February 1 tweens can use the Fuel Up to Play 60 site to track their eating habits and physical activity.
Baltimore’s children are in the thick of the nation’s childhood obesity crisis due to lack of physical activity and poor eating habits. According to Healthy Baltimore Children, 37% of Baltimore City public high school students have been identified as overweight or at risk of overweight.
Middle schools and elementary schools are not exempt from this growing trend. A visit to any middle school or elementary school in the Baltimore area, will reveal overweight tweens. According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of overweight children and teens continues to increase in the United States. Today’s 6- through 11-year-olds are 15% more overweight than their counterparts 20 years ago.
Baltimore moved towards tackling the health challenges facing its kids by convening a community summit in 2008. Sponsored by Associated Black Charities and the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, the summit addressed childhood obesity prevention efforts in Baltimore. In 2009, both groups hammered out the Baltimore Blueprint for Healthy Outcomes in Children: Addressing Childhood Obesity. This report highlighted factors leading to childhood obesity and promoted practices to increase the availability of healthy, affordable foods and physical activity.
With over 35% of Baltimore’s children living in poverty, change is needed now. Poor living conditions plus a lack of adequate play space coupled with limited health eating options has led to weight gain in tweens, as well as kids and teens.
The state of Maryland weighed in with its Maryland Nutrition and Physical Activity Plan. This plan mirrors what many Baltimore area families are striving for in their homes: limiting TV/screen viewing time for kids, tweens, and teens; serving more fruits and vegetables each day; and increasing physical activity.
Resources for Baltimore Parents of Tweens:
- From the Childhood Obesity aerochug.com…most common medical causes of childhood obesity and weight gain.
- Baltimore’s Child wants you! Submit a 100 word or less description of what your family does to keep active to Baltimore Child for possible inclusion in the April 2010 issue. Send to Dianne@BaltimoreChild.com.
- Camp registration is coming up. Find out about camps in the Baltimore area, including weight loss camps like Wellsprings Camp, at camp fairs in Glenwood and Timonium.
- Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right: The Food Solution That Lets Kids Be Kids by Joanna Dolgoff, MD, $21.99, (Rodale). This book gives parents a realistic plan to help their children lose weight.