There Are Ways Parents Can Help Prevent Obesity and Support Healthy Growth in Children
To help ensure that children have a healthy weight, energy balance is important. There are many things parents can do to help their children achieve a healthy weight and maintain it.
- Be aware of your child’s growth. Learn how obesity is measured in children, and 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 in place of foods high in added sugars and solid fats. 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 beverages and limit juice intake.
- Help children get the recommended amount of physical activity each day. Find age appropriate activities here.
- Be a role model! Eat healthy meals and snacks, and get the right amount of physical activity every day.
- Learn what you can do to help shape a healthy school environment.
Addressing Obesity Can Start in the Home, but Also Requires the Support of Providers and Communities
We can all take part in the effort to encourage children to be more physically active and eat a healthy diet.
State and local health departments, businesses, and community groups can:
- Ensure that neighborhoods have low-cost physical activity opportunities such as parks, trails, and community centers.
- Offer easy access to safe, free drinking water and healthy, affordable food options.
Health Care Providers can:
- Measure children’s weight, height and body mass index routinely.
- Connect or refer families to breastfeeding support services, nutrition education, or childhood healthy weight programs as needed.
Early Care and Education centers and schools can:
- Adopt policies and practices that support healthy eating, regular physical activity, and limited screen time.
- Provide opportunities for students to learn about and practice these behaviors.
Working together, we all have a role in making healthier foods, beverages, and physical activity the easy choice for children and adolescents to help prevent childhood obesity.