National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

Overweight child eating snacks and watching tv

In the United States, nearly 40% of adults and 20% of children are obese. September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month; this month, take the opportunity to learn about the risks associated with childhood obesity and how to counter them. Obesity is often accompanied with other health concerns and comorbidities for both children and adults. Common risks for children include:

  • Diabetes, associated with heart disease and kidney failure
  • Asthma
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Bone and Joint pain and issues
  • High blood pressure and cholesterol, associated with cardiovascular disease
  • Adult obesity, associated with diabetes, heart disease, and several types of cancer

If children struggle with obesity, it is likely they will remain obese as adults. In adulthood, obesity has more health risks associated with it, and it becomes much more difficult to lose weight. It is essential to combat obesity during childhood and set up healthy habits and lifestyle choices for your children for the rest of their lives.

Ways to Fight Childhood Obesity

Do Not Restrict Food Intake

Your child is still growing, so limiting their food intake can be dangerous to both their physical and mental health. Instead of restricting the amount of food your child is allowed to eat, incorporate healthier food choices into their diet and healthier choices into their daily activities.

Balance, behavior changes, and lifestyle changes are the best way to overcome obesity. Balance the foods they are eating with activity and exercise. Talk to your child about healthy decisions; children are much more likely to make healthy choices if they are informed about what healthy eating means and why it is important.

Replace Unhealthy Choices with Healthy Choices

Instead of stocking your fridge and cabinets with sugary and salty high-calorie snacks and drinks, fill your kitchen with healthy alternatives. Making healthy food accessible and easy to eat is a huge step in helping your children make health-conscious choices. Making an effort to eat healthy meals together as a family will help your child feel like you are a part of their team.

For a balanced and healthy diet, focus on incorporating more fruits, vegetables, polyunsaturated fats (found in fish, seeds, and nuts), lean meats, and whole grains. Avoid purchasing sugary snacks and drinks, highly processed and red meats, and items high in sodium and trans-fat. Serve water with meals to limit the amount of soda or other sugary drinks your child may consume.

Exercise Regularly

Children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day to stay healthy. They may get some exercise at day care or school, but providing the opportunity and time after school for more physical activity will benefit your child’s health. Make an effort to visit parks, community centers, or nearby nature trails with your child.

You can also encourage physical activity by limiting the amount of time your child is allowed to watch television or play video games. Remove televisions and computers from bedrooms and do not allow television during meals to encourage more mindful eating.

Lead by Example

You can be the best example of good health in your child’s life. One study found that mothers’ habits, rather than children’s habits, better predicted whether or not a child would be obese. Set a good example for your children’s health by eating a healthy diet, participating in exercise with them, limiting your alcohol intake, and refraining from smoking.

Set Goals

Setting goals can be helpful in tracking progress and staying motivated to stay healthy. Instead of setting weight loss-based goals, set healthy behavior goals. This keeps healthy living the end goal, instead of a certain weight or appearance. Determine these goals with your child, so they can have a say in what they are working towards. Healthy behavior goals should be SMART:

  • Specific: Instead of having a general goal “to eat healthier”, set a specific goal like “eat a plant-based meal twice a week”.
  • Measurable: Instead of setting a goal to “have healthy snacks more often”, choose a specific number of days in the week to have a healthy snack.
  • Attainable: Make sure your kids have the resources to be able to complete their goals. If you set goals to eat a healthy snack after school, you will need to make sure they have access to healthy snacks in the house.
  • Realistic: It can be difficult to change the way someone eats. When setting goals with your child, set the bar at a reasonable height for them.
  • Timely: When starting out, set goals for weekly or monthly increments. Goals set for any longer of a time period can easily be forgotten about and your child may lose momentum.

If you are inspired to set a better example for your children, let Capital Women’s Care help you! Call our office to speak to one of our staff, who can help you take charge of your health.

Our Mission

The providers of Capital Women's Care seek the highest quality medical and ethical standard in an environment that nurtures the spirit of caring for every woman.


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