6 Strategies to Help Combat Childhood Obesity

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rise in obesity in children is cause for concern. Obesity can lead to a range of health problems, from social discrimination to asthma, Type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea and heart disease. 

And these health problems aren’t always off in some distant adult future. For the obese child, the health consequences can sometimes be immediate.

The CDC advises parents that the goal for overweight and obese children is to reduce the rate of weight gain while allowing normal growth and development.

Here are some tips from the CDC to help your children (and the whole family) develop healthier eating habits:

  • Stock the kitchen with healthy foods, not junk: buy vegetables, fruit, whole-grain products, low- or non-fat dairy products, lean meats/poultry/fish, and lentils/beans.
  • Serve reasonably sized portions.
  • Encourage your whole family to drink lots of water, and limit sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Limit sugary items and foods with saturated fat (like butter)
  • Look for ways to make your favorite dishes healthier.Oil, sugar, cheese, or other high-calorie ingredients can often be cut down without making the recipe taste significantly different. Or you can add shredded vegetables (to a casserole or muffins) or switch part or all of the flour/pasta/rice to a whole-grain version.
  • Help your kids stay active, and most importantly of all, role-model healthy habits yourself.

How GMC Can Help

Not sure if your child is considered overweight? Use our online BMI calculator for children and teens to check. Then browse the Health (e) Library for articles, videos, calculators and information about keeping your children healthy.

If you’re ready for a professional to help you become a better dietary role model, the Diabetes & Nutrition Education Center at Gwinnett Medical Center offers a variety of services including Diet by Design, a personalized, flexible approach to weight management.

Or, if diet and exercise on their own haven’t worked for your teen, the Center for Weight Management offers a free online seminar to explore whether teen bariatric surgery might be a viable option.


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