RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) â€“ On the first Monday in October, we celebrate National Child Health Day â€“ which the President of the United States of America has proclaimed every year since 1928.
In 2013, there were approximately 74 million children under 18 years of age living in the U.S. On Child Health Day, the president invites
â€œAll agencies and organizations interested in child welfare to unite on Child Health Day in observing exercises that will make the people of the United States aware of the fundamental necessity of a year-round program to protect and develop the health of the children of the United States.â€
The holiday was enacted by Congress in 1928, and was first celebrated on May 1, 1929.
October as a whole is childrenâ€™s health month.
Itâ€™s important to look at the greatest health risks for children here in 2015.
I believe the greatest risk to our kidâ€™s overall health in 2015 is childhood obesity. Obesity puts our kids at risk for heart disease, diabetes and other chronic illnesses. Obesity and obesity-related illness costs the U.S. healthcare system nearly $150 billion per year.
Currently, nearly 17 percent of all kids are considered obese. If current projections hold true we expect that nearly 30 percent of Americans will be obese in the year 2030.
Another significant threat to childrenâ€™s health in 2015 is preventable communicable illnesses.
Illnesses such as measles and whooping cough are completely preventable and have been nearly eradicated in this country. However, due to misconceptions about immunizations we have seen many outbreaks in the last 2-3 years.
It is essential that all children are immunized against these diseases. Immunizations are not harmful and cannot cause autism. We must, as parents, insist that our kids are protected and we must not allow misinformation and hype to cloud our judgment about vaccines.
The most important thing that we as parents can do is set a good example for our children.
Children model behavior â€” if we, as adults, work to eat healthy meals and exercise daily, our kids will make it part of their routine as well. It is essential to incorporate exercise into family activities and routines and to make it fun.
In addition, have healthy snacks and good food choices in the house. Avoid fast foods and those with high calories and low nutritional value.
Ensure that your children have proper vaccines and work together with your pediatrician to make sure that your child is on the right track to good health.
The most important thing that we can do on National Child Health Day is to make sure our kids know how much we love and care for them. Make them feel safe and support them in all that they do.