Tips to Help Children
Maintain a Healthy Weight
In the United States,
the number of children with obesity has continued to rise over the past two
decades. Obesity in childhood poses immediate and future health risks.
Parents, guardians, and teachers
can help children maintain a healthy weight by helping them develop healthy
eating habits and limiting calorie-rich temptations. You also want to help
children be physically active, have reduced screen time, and get adequate
The goal for children
who are overweight is to reduce the rate of weight gain while allowing normal
growth and development. Children should NOT be placed on a weight reduction
diet without the consultation of a health care provider.
Develop healthy eating habits
To help children develop
healthy eating habits:
- Provide plenty of vegetables,
fruits, and whole-grain products.
- Include low-fat or non-fat milk
or dairy products, including cheese and yogurt.
- Choose lean meats, poultry,
fish, lentils, and beans for protein.
- Encourage your family to drink
lots of water.
- Limit sugary drinks.
- Limit consumption of sugar and
Remember that small
changes every day can lead to success!
Limit calorie-rich temptations
availability of high-fat and high-sugar or salty snacks can help your children
develop healthy eating habits. Only allow your children to eat these foods
rarely, so that they truly will be treats! Here are examples of
easy-to-prepare, low-fat and low-sugar snacks that are 100 calories or less:
- 1 cup carrots, broccoli, or
bell peppers with 2 tablespoons hummus.
- A medium apple or banana.
- 1 cup blueberries or grapes.
- One-fourth cup of tuna wrapped
in a lettuce leaf.
- A few homemade oven-baked kale
Help children stay active
In addition to being fun
for children, regular physical activity has many health benefits, including:
- Decreasing blood pressure.
- Reducing stress and anxiety.
- Increasing self-esteem.
- Helping with weight management.
Children ages 3 through
5 years should be active throughout the day. Children and adolescents ages 6
through 17 years should be physically active at least 60 minutes each day.
Include aerobic activity, which is anything that makes their hearts beat
faster. Also include bone-strengthening activities such as running or jumping
and muscle-strengthening activities such as climbing or push-ups.
Remember that children
imitate adults. Start adding physical activity to your own routine and
encourage your child to join you.
Reduce sedentary time
Although quiet time for
reading and homework is fine, limit the time children watch television, play
video games, or surf the web to no more than 2 hours per day. Additionally, the
American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend television viewing for
children aged 2 years or younger. Instead, encourage children to find fun
activities to do with family members or on their own that simply involve more
Ensure adequate sleep
Too little sleep is associated with obesity, partly because
inadequate sleep makes us eat more and be less physically active. Children need
more sleep than adults, and the amount varies by age. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and
the Sleep Research Society recommend:
Age Group Recommended
Hours of Sleep
Infant (4–12 months)
=12–16 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
Toddler (1–2 years)
=11–14 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
Pre-school (3–5 years)
=10–13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
School Age (6–12 years)
= 9–12 hours per 24 hours
Teen (13–18 years) =
8–10 hours per 24 hours
Adult (18–60 years) = 7
or more hours per night
Clark County Health Department provides programs for
the entire family, including Medical Nutrition Therapy (weight-loss counseling,
diabetes management, etc.), Diabetes Classes, Diabetes Support Group, Diabetes
Prevention Program, WIC, HANDS, family planning, and well
child/immunizations. For more
information, on all of our services, please call (859)744-4482, like us on
information taken from: www.cdc.gov