What can I do as a parent to fight childhood obesity?

Updated: Sep 7, 2021

Short answer is by being a good role model. If you are maintaining ideal body weight, exercising regularly and eating healthy you are already ahead in the game.

If not, start today! It’s never too late.

Childhood obesity is very common with close to 19.3% children in United States being affected. Please read my other articles to understand the health risks of being obese and overweight. https://www.whyheartsmatter.com/post/why-you-can-t-give-up-trying-to-lose-weight

A child with one obese parent has 50% chance of being obese. If both parents are obese the child has 80% chance of being obese. The relationship is complex with possible role of genetics, but the environmental factors are often modifiable. How do I know if my child is obese?

According to WHO guidelines, a child whose weight for height is above 2 standard deviations is overweight and 3 standard deviations is considered obese. You can refer to this chart below to understand ranges of weight for height for children between 5-19 years of age.


Here are a few things you can do:

1- Stock your pantry and refrigerator with only healthy snacks. 2- Limit treats and sugary beverages, juices etc.

3- Engage children in grocery shopping, cooking and even growing food.

4- Reduce consumption of processed food. 5- Participate in physical activities as a family.

6- Reduce screen time (less than 2 hours per day).

7- Ensure adequate sleep. Limit electronic gadgets in bedroom.

Aim for progress, if not perfection.

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