What You Can Do To Combat Childhood Obesity


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    Specializes in Advancing Excellence in Health Care.

Childhood obesity has quickly become a major health issue impacting the US. According to the CDC, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years (1). In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.

We nurses are the first point of contact for many families as they look for ways to improve their children's health. We can share life-saving strategies that are easy to implement and can help stop obesity before it begins.

AHRQ's free patient summary on childhood obesity is for parents and caregivers who want to know things that can be done at home, in school, and in the community to help children maintain a healthy weight and keep them from becoming overweight or obese. If a child is already overweight or obese, steps can still be taken to keep the child from gaining any more weight.

Keeping Children at a Healthy Weight also outlines factors that may lead to children becoming overweight, including:

  • Unhealthy eating habits - Children may eat too much, eat too many unhealthy foods, or drink too many sugary drinks.
  • Not getting enough sleep - Children who do not get enough sleep each night are more likely to become overweight.
  • Not enough physical activity - Children should be active at least 1 hour each day.

What kinds of advice do you offer families to help them keep their children at a healthy weight? Are there community-based health programs you refer them to? Please share some of your ideas.

To share this information with your patients, free copies of the clinician and patient treatment summaries can be ordered by calling 800-358-9295 and using code C-01.

(1) http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 20,908 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 43 years experience.

Thanks Beth!

Home Health Columnist / Guide


11 Articles; 17,846 Posts

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 46 years experience.

Our pediatrician discussed healthy eating yearly with us as we reviewed weight chart --children were in 5%-10% range until high school and choice of own foods occurred. Doctor also asked what spots/activities to encourage moving bodies.

Keeping cutup fruits/veggies in plastic containers in fridge allowed kids to grab them since already prepped --especially for the son who refused to eat apple skin.

Last visit, saw doctors office posted "My Plate" in waiting room area.

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/ has eating guidelines for different age groups that are easy to follow.

Healthy Eating for Preschoolers Mini-Poster


KelRN215, BSN, RN

1 Article; 7,349 Posts

Specializes in Pedi. Has 16 years experience.

To be perfectly honest, working with primarily pediatric oncology patients this isn't at the top of our list of concerns. Most of our kids lose so much weight because of their treatment that the nutritionists are happy to just get them to eat anything. Actually, they go so far as to encourage high calorie foods/snacks. In my non-oncology population, I have a high percentage of FTT patients, many of whom are on tube feeds for one reason or another.