Health & Safety

January 24, 2014

DOD focuses on healthy, active lifestyle for kids

kids-fitness
WASHINGTON – With the national rate of childhood obesity increasing, the Defense Department wants to ensure children in military families lead healthy and active lifestyles, the Defense Department’s director of the office of family policy and children and youth said.

In a recent interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel, Barbara Thompson said that nationally, 12.5 million children and adolescents from age 2 to 19 are overweight, a figure that’s tripled since 1980. Military children are a microcosm of that group, she noted.

Today’s generation of children is the first one at risk of dying before their parents, Thompson said. Facing such risks, families should set goals for healthy food choices and more physical activities for their children.

“It’s important for children to see the most important models in their lives doing the same things they should do,” she said. “It’s of critical importance that children start healthy habits at a very early age. The bottom line is (that) obesity is preventable.”

DOD’s message for young children and adolescents is called 5-2-1, Thompson said. It calls for five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, two hours or less of “screen time,” one hour of moderate to vigorous exercise and zero sweetened drinks, which is a plan that can be used at home and in school. She defined screen time as any activity involving television, computers, video games, movies and other devices that lead to a sedentary lifestyle.

Obesity also can lead to serious diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure, Thompson said. Children without healthy diets and routine exercise start at early ages to build plaque in their arteries, and are at risk for future health issues, she added.

And national security can become an issue when people cannot enter military service because of their weight and health-related diseases, Thompson said.

Resources for setting dietary and exercise goals are abundant for military families, Thompson said. One way to begin children on a path to healthy eating and routine exercise is to have meals as families, she said. Cutting sugar and salt, reducing overall fat and cooking in a healthy manner, such as steaming certain foods rather than fat-frying them, also are necessary to a better lifestyle, she noted.

After dinner, families can take walks together and make plans for weekend bike rides and other physical activities, Thompson suggested.

Health and nutrition help is available from numerous resources, she said, noting that first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiative includes a website that provides a variety of healthy recipes and ways to add activity into children’s’ everyday lives.

While school districts have begun to offer healthy food choices, parents should become involved with the Parent-Teacher Association and similar groups if their children’s schools do not deliver healthy food choices or provide inadequate exercise time and activities, she said.

The Military OneSource website offers a health and wellness coach program that’s good for goal setting for cardiovascular health and nutrition habits, Thompson said.

Child and youth development centers and morale, welfare, and recreation programs on military installations offer emphasis on eating healthy foods and pursuing active lifestyles, she said. Help also is available to advise families on how to shop for groceries and prepare meals in a healthy manner, she said.

“The earlier children ingrain specific (habits), the more they will stay with them – whether it’s brushing their teeth before bed, washing their hands, or (remembering) to drink water and eat fruits and vegetables,” Thompson said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

News Briefs April 24, 2015

“Edwards Got Talent” contest April 24 Edwards Family Advocacy will hold an “Edwards Got Talent” competition at the Oasis Community Center April 24. The show starts at 5:30 p.m. and will end at 7:30 p.m. Anyone with access to Edwards AFB and their family members are invited to come and show off their talent! The...
 
 
Courtesy photograph by Liz Jacobson

Ten seconds later and that picture still exists

Courtesy photograph by Liz Jacobson Teenagers may feel a false sense of anonymity and security when using Internet apps, which can lead to an increasing number of teenagers sending inappropriate content. Irresponsible sharing o...
 
 
NASA photograph by Ken Ulbrich

Second X-56A MUTT makes first flight

NASA photograph by Ken Ulbrich NASA researchers are using the X-56A, a low-cost, modular, remotely piloted aerial vehicle, to explore the behavior of lightweight, flexible aircraft structures. Researchers at NASA’s Armstrong ...
 

 
afaf

AFAF campaign extended

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber The Edwards Air Force Base 2015 Air Force Assistance Fund Campaign has been extended an additional two weeks to May 15. If you would like to donate, contact your Unit Project Officer. For q...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr.

An Edwards NCO’s journey to wounded warrior mentorship

Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr. Tech. Sgt. Ryan Delaney, an Air Force Wounded Warrior mentor, watches Tremayne Maxwell, an Air Force Wounded Warrior athlete, perfect his wheelchair basketball rolling skills during the f...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Jet Fabara

F-22 test squadron recognizes decorated squadron member, Vietnam hero

Air Force photograph by Jet Fabara William Freckleton, 412th Range Squadron lead F-22 range control officer, poses before his F-16D incentive flight April 21. Freckleton is the only decorated Vietnam veteran at the 411th Flight...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>