Skip to Main content

Childhood obesity

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 6 children in the United States is obese. Children who are obese are at risk for health issues like diabetes and high blood pressure.

Many factors can make a child more likely to be obese. Home and community play a big role. The children of lower-income parents are more likely to be obese. Healthy foods and safe places to play can help children avoid obesity. However, many children do not have access to these things.

There are simple steps you can take to help your child reduce his or her risk of childhood obesity.

What you can do

  • Teach good habits with 5-2-1-0:
    A healthy diet and exercise can help prevent obesity. The Let’s Go! Program recommends that each day children have 5 or more fruits and vegetables, 2 hours or less of recreational screen time, 1 hour or more of physical activity, and 0 sugary drinks. You can learn more at Let’s Go.
  • Serve smaller meals:
    Eating big portions of food can cause weight gain and childhood obesity. Children who are given large portions of food eat more calories without realizing it.
  • Consider breast feeding:
    Only 13 percent of babies are exclusively breast fed after the end of their first 6 months. If you have a baby, breast feeding can help prevent weight gain and obesity when the child is older.