1 in 5 children in the United States has obesity.
Certain groups of children are more affected than others. National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month provides a chance for all of us to learn more about this serious health condition. While there is no simple solution, there are many ways communities can support children with their journey to good health.
Promote healthy growth in children and prevent obesity.
- Be aware of your child’s growth. 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. 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 drinks and limit juice intake.
- Help children get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Regular physical activity can have immediate health benefits.
- Make sure your child has healthy sleep habits. Sleep helps improve attention and reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and even obesity later in life. Your child needs at least 8 hours of sleep, may be more depending on age.
- Be a role model! Eat healthy meals and snacks, and get the right amount of physical activity every day.
Obese children have an increase in health conditions
Unfortunately with increasing obesity rates we also see an increase in related health conditions such as heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, asthma and sleep apnea among children. Not only are obese children at a higher risk to become obese adults; but the risk factors associated with weight are more likely to be severe. These children also have a higher risk of being the target of bullying, having lower self-esteem and potential depression and behavioral issues.
Childhood Obesity Is Influenced by Many Factors
Too much time spent being inactive
Lack of access to affordable, healthier foods
Lack of places to go in the community to get physical activity
Easy access to inexpensive, high calorie foods and sugary beverages
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.