Monday, July 14, 2008

Parents and Tweens Tackle Obesity

news you may not knowOne Step at a Time...

It's the age of convenience and, generally, that's quite a good thing. No more laborious walking back and forth to the television to channel surf. No slicing and dicing real food to prepare a meal - just grab a cardboard box from the freezer and toss it in the microwave. Need to vacuum? Not a problem. Let the RoboVac take care of it while you sip a nice chamomile tea.

But, is there a downside to all this convenience?


Comfort related diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease are skyrocketing. Obesity is out of control and, not wanting to miss the party, our kids are right in the middle of the fray. This easy living routine has been brutal on the health of children, with 16 percent of children ages 6 to 19 being overweight or obese. That's over 9 million of our future teachers, doctors, truck drivers and grocers who are already at risk.

A new program, launched by the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office on Women's Health, is determined to change this bleak situation. They initiated BodyWorks in 2006 to help families deal with obesity in "tween" girls, ages 9 to 13.

The unique aspect of BodyWorks is involving the entire family in the process. This is not a diet for the obese girls, but a lifestyle-training course for all involved. HHS has trained 1,700 BodyWorks instructors, who will now take the program back to their local communities. Through referrals, or word of mouth, families enroll in the BodyWorks program. The program is a 10-week educational effort, with each session lasting 90 minutes. Parents are expected to attend all 10 sessions, and the girls at least three.

The BodyWorks program teaches parents and tweens how to make better food choices at the grocery, and encourages them to become more active. That's it - it's really that simple. As the girls make healthier lifestyle choices they automatically lose weight.

So, if you'd like the convenience of spending your future years somewhere other than the doctor's office, take some simple steps today. Try some real food - like fruits and vegetables. And ditch the television remote control. You'll be so irritated by getting up and down to change the channels, it may just motivate you to take a real walk.

To read a synopsis of the program, see this from Reuters. To get the complete details, see this from BodyWorks.


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