What is childhood obesity? Obesity in children and adults is a measurement linked to body mass index (BMI). An overweight child or teen has a BMI at or above the 85th percentile and below the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age and sex. An obese child or teen has a BMI at or above the 95th percentile.
According to a 2016 study conducted using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers found that “the prevalence of obesity in US children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 years from 2011-2014 was 17.0%.”
How can you help combat childhood obesity?
- Set a positive example. Be a healthy role model for the children in your life. Follow the guidelines you set for your children, and explain to your children when you don’t.
- Reduce screen and sedentary time. Use the Family Media Plan Tool to set guidelines for media use for school-age children.
- Serve healthy meals, provide water to drink, and limit consumption of sugar-filled drinks. Use the Food Guide Pyramid from the USDA to help you prepare healthy meals. Provide water to drink instead of sugary, calorie-filled beverages.
- Provide fruits and vegetables as snacks. Apples, berries, bananas, grapes, carrots, celery, etc., are all great between-meal snacks for active children.
- Encourage active play. Active play comes in many forms. Support organized sports, PE, and integrating movement into the school day. Get ideas from NFL Play 60.
To learn more about childhood obesity and its prevention, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To learn about childhood obesity in your state, visit Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
To learn obesity prevention tips for parents and caregivers, visit American Heart Association.