According to the CDC:
- About 1 in 5 American children has obesity
- Compared to children with healthy weight, children who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk for asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease
- Children with obesity are more likely to experience bullying, social isolation, depression, and lower self-esteem
Causes of Obesity
Obesity is a complex disease that occurs when an individual’s weight is higher than what is considered healthy for his or her height. Obesity affects children as well as adults. Many factors can contribute to excess weight gain including eating patterns, physical activity levels, and sleep routines. Social determinants of health, genetics, and taking certain medications also play a role.
Having a healthy diet can help children get the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development, and help them reach a healthy weight. A healthy diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat or fat-free dairy. Add an array of colors to your plate and think of it as eating the rainbow. Dark, leafy greens, oranges, and tomatoes—even fresh herbs—are loaded with vitamins, fiber, and minerals. Adding frozen peppers, broccoli, or onions to stews and omelets gives them a quick and convenient boost of color and nutrients.
Compared to those who are inactive, physically active youth have stronger muscles and better cardiovascular fitness. They also typically have lower body fat and stronger bones. Regular physical activity in childhood also reduces the risk of depression. The amount of physical activity children need depends on their age. Children ages 3 through 5 years need to be active throughout the day. Children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 need to be active for 60 minutes every day.
Getting enough water every day is important for your health. Drinking water can prevent dehydration, a condition that can cause unclear thinking, result in mood change, cause your body to overheat, and lead to constipation and kidney stones. Water has no calories, so it can also help with managing body weight and reducing calorie intake when substituted for drinks with calories, such as sweet tea or regular soda.
Remember Eat Right, Stay Active and Drink Water. Spread the word. Take Action.
CDC | Preventing Childhood Obesity
CDC | Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight
CDC | How much physical activity do children need?
CDC | Water and Healthier Drinks