One in 3 children in the United States are overweight or obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
The good news? Childhood obesity can be prevented. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for kids to eat healthier and get more active.
Help your child – and your whole family – eat healthy and stay physically active. The healthy habits your child learns now can last a lifetime.
What can I do to help my child stay at a healthy weight?
Help your child stay at a healthy weight by balancing what your child eats with physical activity. Two of the best ways to prevent your child from becoming overweight or obese are to:
- Help your child eat healthier foods
- Be more physically active as a family
You are a role model.
Parents are often the most important role models for children. When you choose to eat right and be physically active, your child will be more likely to make those choices, too.
Plus, being active and preparing healthy meals together are great ways to spend quality time with your family.
Why do I need to worry about my child’s weight?
Being overweight or obese as a child can lead to serious problems, like:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Sleep problems
- Low self-esteem
- Getting bullied
Being overweight as a child increases the risk of being overweight or obese as an adolescent and young adult. In other words, many kids don’t “grow out of” being overweight.
Today, about 2 in 3 adults – and about 1 in 3 children – are overweight or obese.
Make sure your child gets at least 60 minutes (1 hour) of physical activity every day.
It doesn’t have to be 60 minutes all at once – it can be shorter activities that add up to 1 hour a day. Fun and simple activities, like playing tag, are great ways for kids to get moving.
Be sure your child is doing different types of activity, including:
- Aerobic activities, like running, skipping, or dancing
- Muscle-strengthening activities, like climbing playground equipment or trees
- Bone-strengthening activities, like jumping rope or playing basketball
Make getting active a family project.
- Let children choose family activities.
- Try walking the dog or biking to the library together.
- Post a family activity calendar on your refrigerator.