8 Ways to Fight Childhood Obesity

by Erica Sanderson Editor

While childhood obesity rates are on the decline, it’s still a prevalent problem in the U.S. Obesity in children is linked to increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke later in life. Early obesity prevention is crucial. Here’s how you can keep your kids on the healthy track.

Limit screen time

Today’s culture revolves around sitting. Kids sit almost all day at their desks and then come home to sit in front of the computer or TV. According to a recent study, children who watch more than two hours of TV daily are at a higher risk of developing obesity. So get your kids moving! Chase them, play ball, assign chores—do whatever you can to keep them active.

Start the day off right

A recent study says a big breakfast can help fight obesity by reducing snacking throughout the day and improving energy levels. Nutritionist Amy Hendel recommends healthy options for kids, such as a whole-grain waffle with nut butter or oatmeal mixed with fruit and milk.

Enroll them into a sports team

We all had to do things we didn’t want to as a child. While your kid might complain at first, they may actually end up liking soccer or basketball and make new friends along the way. Pick a sport that requires vigorous exercise, as the Centers for Disease Control recommends children get at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity.

Get your child’s school involved in a health program

There are a variety of programs that work with elementary and middle schools throughout the U.S. to help combat childhood obesity. Energy Balance 101, for example, helps educate kids on healthy and active lifestyle options. Your local school doesn’t have one? Find out how you can change that.

Be proactive at the pediatrician’s office

Parents might not know their child is overweight. Pediatricians are supposed to monitor these patterns and tell parents early on to begin preventative measures. However, a 2012 study indicated some pediatricians failed to communicate a child’s weight problem to their parents. Ask about your child’s weight at the doctor’s. If you feel the doctor is not devoting enough attention to this issue, switch doctors.

Use fun health education

Teaching your children about health is important. What’s the best way to do that? According to a recent study, kids that played health-centric video games were more likely to select healthier foods than kids who did not play health games. Check out this list of health game options for kids.

Brown bag it for lunch

A recent study indicates children who eat school lunches have higher risks for obesity. Changes to kids’ school lunches are being implemented, but will kids make the right choices on their own? If you prepare a lunch, you can take that gamble out of the equation by knowing exactly what they’re eating and how much.

Set a good example

Young children look up to their parents, often copying their behaviors. So set a good example for your children by eating healthy and exercising regularly. Remember: You are the biggest influence in their lives in the beginning, so it’s important to be a good role model before they’re out on their own.

Erica Sanderson
Meet Our Writer
Erica Sanderson

Erica Sanderson is a former content producer and editor for HealthCentral. Living with a chronic disorder that affects the lungs and instestine, Erica focused on covering digestive health and respiratory health. Topics included COPD, asthma, acid reflux, managing symptoms and medication.