Using theater to fight childhood obesity

September 16, 2008 12:25:08 PM PDT
Childhood obesity is a serious problem, but it's often tough for parents to get kids to eat the right foods and to exercise.

Two experts in this area offered some advice for parents. Regina Dwerlkotte, the Educational Theatre Director at Kaiser Permanente, and Dr. Charles Wibbelsman of Kaiser Permanente's Teen Clinic suggest the following:

  1. Lead by example
  2. Find activities you can do with your kids
  3. Celebrate healthy changes
  4. Make "Best Me"-type promises as a family
"The Best Me" and other Educational Theatre Programs are offered free of charge to eligible schools and community groups. The programs use comedy, drama, music and dance to promote healthy living to kids. If you are interested in bringing the program to your child's school, you can visit www.kp.org/etp/ncal.

Click here for additional information on "The Best Me Program"

Childhood Obesity Facts:

  • Childhood obesity rates have tripled over the last 30 years.
  • Nearly 15 million children are overweight or obese -- 1 in 4 children.
  • Weight-related type 2 diabetes is emerging in children now due to excessive weight.
  • Children now spend an average of five and a half hours a day using electronic media, more time than they spend doing anything else besides sleeping.
  • Academic performance has been linked to weight in some studies, with the finding that obese students perform less well academically than average-weight students.
  • Psychological problems associated with childhood obesity include negative self-esteem, withdrawal from interaction with peers, depression and anxiety.
  • American children may be the first generation in modern history to live shorter lives than their parents did.


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