Childhood Obesity

Childhood Obesity Facts

  • Childhood obesity affects more than 30 percent of children, making it the most chronic disease of childhood
  • 1 in 4 children who are obese contemplate committing suicide
  • 80% of type 2 diabetes is related to childhood obesity
  • 70% of heart disease is related to childhood obesity
  • More children die of childhood related illnesses than gunfire

Is My Child Overweight?

Doctors and other health care professionals are the best people to determine whether your child or adolescent’s weight is healthy, and they can help rule out rare medical problems as the cause of unhealthy weight.

A Body Mass Index (BMI) can be calculated from measurements of height and weight. Health professionals often use a BMI “growth chart” to help them assess whether a child or adolescent is overweight.

A physician will also consider your child or adolescent’s age and growth patterns to determine whether his or her weight is healthy.

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Any weight management program for children should be supervised by a physician. Many overweight children who are still growing will not need to lose weight, but can reduce their rate of weight gain so that they can “grow into” their weight.

Your child’s diet should be safe and nutritious. It should include all of the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for vitamins, minerals, and protein and contain the foods from the major Food Guide Pyramid groups. Any weight-loss diet should be low in calories only, not in essential nutrients.

Even with extremely overweight children, weight loss should be gradual. Crash diets and diet pills can compromise growth and are not recommended by many health care professionals.

Weight lost during a diet is frequently regained unless children are motivated to change their eating habits and activity levels for a lifetime.

Do let your child see you enjoying healthy foods and physical activity.
Do let your child know he or she is loved and appreciated whatever his or her weight.
Do focus on your child’s health and positive qualities, and not your child’s weight.

Don’t place your child on a restrictive diet.
Don’t use of food as a reward.
Don’t withhold food as punishment.
(Source: US Department of Health & Human Services)

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