Preventing Childhood Obesity - Helpful Everyday Tips | Family Health

Family Health

Tips for Preventing Childhood Obesity

One third of children in the U.S. are either overweight or obese. Childhood obesity is now the top concern of parents, above even drug abuse and smoking . As a parent, you want to make sure your child is living a healthy life. Obesity is a serious medical condition that you should take note of. If a child is defined as “affected by obesity,” it means their body mass index (BMI) is greater than 95 percent. A child defined as “overweight” has a BMI percentile greater than 85 percent and less than 95 percent2


This topic is talked about a lot in the newspaper headlines or on the TV news. Some of the health issues associated with it include:

  • Obese kids are more likely to be bullied or teased. They are also more often social isolated, depressed and have low self-esteem.
  • There is a higher risk for chronic health problems like asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems and type 2 diabetes.
  • Obese kids are at a higher risk for high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
  • These kids are more likely to be obese as adults, which is linked to mental and physical health problems. Obese adults are also at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes, heart diseases and certain types of cancers3.

There are things that you can do to help your child. You can encourage good eating habits:

  • Serve more fruits and vegetables
  • Buy fewer soft drinks and high-fat, high-calorie snack foods
  • Make sure your child eats a healthy breakfast every day
  • Eat fast food less often
  • Don’t use food as a reward


Help your kids stay active. They need about an hour of activity each day. Try to limit time kids watch TV, play video games or surf the web to two hours per day. Get the whole family active and moving by trying some activities like:

  • Brisk walking
  • Playing tag
  • Jumping rope
  • Playing soccer
  • Swimming
  • Dancing


It isn’t always easy to know when a child is overweight. Kids grow at different rates, so you should ask your family doctor if your child’s height and weight are in a healthy range.

Check out your child’s BMI


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