The Mattoon Area Family YMCA wants families to know how to prevent childhood obesity and live better together-both inside and outside of the home.

The Y is a leading voice in youth development and healthy living and provides our community with several ways to incorporate regular physical activity into daily routines.

While a recent report by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention shows a small decline in childhood obesity rates among preschoolers, there is still a long way to go.

Nationally, one in eight preschoolers is obese, putting them at risk for many chronic diseases seen in adults such as high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

At the Mattoon Y, we want families to understand the lifetime benefits of eating right and getting physically active and those behaviors begin at home. If healthy eating habits are established at home they will carry over to when children are out of their parents’ care and that will dramatically help reduce obesity in our community.

The following tips will help families live healthy together while reducing childhood obesity:

— Eat Healthy-Make water the drink of choice and make it easy for everyone to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables by offering two or three colorful options. Feel free to mix and match fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables to provide variety.

— Play Every Day-Kids should have at least an hour a day of unconstructed physical play and break a sweat at least three times a week by getting 20 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity.

— Get Together- Eat as a family as frequently as possible with kids involved in meal preparation and clean up. In addition, adults should take a break from electronics and spend one-on-one time each day with their kids. Enjoying one another’s company.

— Reduce Screen Time- Time spent in front of a television, computer, tablet, cell phone or video games collectively should be limited to two hours per day.

— Sleep Well- Kids and adults need to keep a regular sleep schedule with a minimum of 7 to 8 hours for adults and possibly more for kids.

At the Y we provide activities for all ages that will encourage healthy habits. We encourage everyone to visit our Y to learn about activities for youth and adults. Come to our Y consider and a membership so you and your family may enjoy family time in our pool and gyms.

Take time for yourself and join a fitness program and consider youth sports or fitness programs for your children. Become a member before Sept. 15 and we will waive your joining fee. For more information on membership and programs call 234-9494 or visit www.mattoonymca.org.

About the Y

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children — regardless of age, income or background — to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change.

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