September is National Childhood Obesity Month
Childhood Obesity Is a Major Public Health Problem
- Children with obesity are at higher risk for having other chronic health conditions and diseases, such as asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, and type 2 diabetes. They also have more risk factors for heart disease like high blood pressure and high cholesterol than their normal weight peers.
- Children with obesity can be bullied and teased more than their normal weight peers. They are also more likely to suffer from social isolation, depression, and lower self-esteem.
- Children with obesity are more likely to have obesity as adults. This can lead to lifelong physical and mental health problems. Adult obesity is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many types of cancers.
Childhood Obesity Is Influenced by Many Factors
- too much time spent being inactive
- lack of sleep
- lack of places to go in the community to get physical activity
- easy access to inexpensive, high calorie foods and sugary beverages
- lack of access to affordable, healthier foods
There Are Ways Parents Can Help Prevent Obesity and Support Healthy Growth in Children
- Be aware of your child’s growth. Learn how obesity is measured in children, and use CDC’s Child and Teen BMI Calculator to screen your child for potential weight issues.
- Provide nutritious, lower-calorie foods such as fruits and vegetables in place of foods high in added sugars and solid fats. Try serving more fruit and vegetables at meals and as snacks.
- Make sure drinking water is always available as a no-calorie alternative to sugary beverages and limit juice intake.
- Help children get the recommended amount of physical activity each day. Find age appropriate activities here.
- Be a role model! Eat healthy meals and snacks, and get the right amount of physical activity every day.
- Learn what you can do to help shape a healthy school environment.
Addressing Obesity Can Start in the Home, but Also Requires the Support of Providers and Communities
- Ensure that neighborhoods have low-cost physical activity opportunities such as parks, trails, and community centers.
- Offer easy access to safe, free drinking water and healthy, affordable food options.
- Measure children’s weight, height and body mass index routinely.
- Connect or refer families to breastfeeding support services, nutrition education, or childhood healthy weight programs as needed.
- Adopt policies and practices that support healthy eating, regular physical activity, and limited screen time.
- Provide opportunities for students to learn about and practice these behaviors.
- CDC’s Childhood Overweight and Obesity
- Vital Signs—Progress on Childhood Obesity
- CDC’s Tips for Parents –Ideas to Help Children Maintain a Healthy Weight
- Strategies to Prevent Obesity—Early Care and Education
- State and Local Programs –Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity
- Rethink Your Drink
- CDC Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
- Adolescent and School Health
- Water Access in Schools