Child and Adolescent Obesity: Causes and Consequences, Prevention and Management

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Before you eat, think about what goes on your plate, in your cup, or in your bowl. Skip to main content. An official website of the United States Government.

Childhood Obesity

Mission The FNS Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion works to improve the health and well-being of Americans by developing and promoting dietary guidance that links scientific research to the nutrition needs of consumers. Sign up for updates Get email updates.


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Additional Resources. What's New? Start your nutrition overhaul by limiting sweets and soft drinks in your home. Even drinks made from percent juice can be high in calories. Instead, serve water and lower-fat or nonfat milk with meals. Cut back your fast food consumption and make a conscious effort to cook more. Center your meals and snacks around fresh foods instead of processed items, baked goods, or salty snacks. Chances are good that your overweight or obese child will drop some weight as they transition to a healthier way of eating. You may need additional help from a nutritionist or dietician.

Playing hopscotch outside, for example, may be more appealing to a 7-year-old than jogging around the block.

Find activities the entire family can enjoy together. This is not only a great way to bond, but it also helps your child learn by example. Hiking, swimming, or even playing tag can help your child get active and start on the path to a healthier weight. Be sure to vary activities to prevent boredom. Limit screen time, too. Kids who spend several hours a day watching television, playing computer games, or using their smartphones or other devices are more likely to be overweight.

According to studies reported by the Harvard School of Public Health, the reason for this may be twofold.

First, screen time eats into time that could be spent doing physical activities instead. And second, more time in front of the TV means more time for snacking, and more exposure to ads for the high-sugar, high-fat foods that make up most food marketing. Childhood obesity is a serious issue in the United States. However, with proper education and support, children can learn healthier ways to cope with their problems, prepare meals, and stay active.

This support must come from the adults in their lives: parents, teachers, and other caregivers. Help your children stay healthier for longer by preparing nutritious foods for them and encouraging them to get plenty of exercise.

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Childhood Obesity Causes & Consequences | Overweight & Obesity | CDC

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Childhood Obesity Awareness

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