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Michelle Obama Tackles a National Crisis - Childhood Obesity

As Mrs. Obama gets the wheels turning for her campaign, researchers have also been focusing on lowering this number. A recently released study, slated to be published by the journal Pediatrics in March 2010, has identified three household routines that may reduce a child's risk for becoming overweight. The study concluded that if you take these three steps, you can help cut the risk of childhood obesity in your child by 40 percent:

1. Sit down to dinner as a family. If eating together every night is a challenge, start off slowly with a couple times a week, and gradually work your way up.

2. Limit TV time. Not only does television take away from physical activity, but it also sets the stage for mindless eating.

3. Get enough sleep. It may come as a surprise that most five-year-olds require 11 hours of sleep a night.

Although previous studies have looked at these three steps separately, this is the first study of its kind to look at the effects all three combined can have on a child's weight.

The conclusions found that preschoolers who sat down to a family meal at least five times a week, got at least 10 ½ hours of sleep a night, and watched less than two hours of television a day were 40 percent less likely to be overweight than their counterparts. In addition to decreased risk of obesity, the study also points out that these steps can help children with language acquisition, and cognitive, social, and emotional development. Furthermore, the study found this rang true regardless of participants' family makeup or where they lived.

This study comes at a crucial time, as more children than ever before are faced with the health consequences that come along with being obese. Although implementing at least one of these steps can have a positive effect on a child's weight, researchers urge parents to do all they can to try to make all three a part of their daily routine. Michelle Obama is doing her part by encouraging local communities to provide opportunities for healthier eating and physical activity to help stop this epidemic in its tracks. By following her lead, you can help your children will be on the right track to leading healthier, happier lives.



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