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September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

Preventing Obesity on Campus


  • An overweight adolescent has a 70 percent chance of becoming an overweight or obese adult.
  • 6- to 8-year-olds with obesity are approximately 10 times more likely to become obese adults than those with a lower body mass index.
  • A third of the children born in 2000 in this country will develop diabetes during their lifetime.
  • Since 1980, the obesity prevalence among children and adolescents has almost tripled.
  • More than one in four 17- to 24-year-olds in the United States are now too heavy to serve in the military, a development that retired military leaders say endangers national security.
  • Children with obesity are already demonstrating cardiovascular risk factors typically not seen until adulthood.
  • Children and adolescents with obesity have a greater risk of social and psychological problems, such as discrimination and poor self-esteem, which can continue into adulthood.
  • Children with weight issues are more likely to miss school and repeat a grade than children who are at a healthy weight.
  • Children with obesity have three times more healthcare expenditures than children at healthy weights, costing an estimated $14 billion every year.

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Health Effects of Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term effects on health and well-being.

Immediate health effects:

  • Obese youths are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youths had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
  • Obese adolescents are more likely to have prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for development of diabetes.
  • Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.

 Long-term health effects:

  • Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.
  • Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.


Healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity, can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases.


  • Use a Smaller Plate. Use smaller plates to help with portion control. By avoiding oversize bowls, glasses, plates, and mugs, you’re better able to avoid oversize portions and therefore avoid excess calories.
  • Eat Some Foods Less Often. Cut back on foods high in solid fats, added sugars, and salt. They include cakes, cookies, ice cream, candies, sweetened drinks, pizza, and fatty meats like ribs, sausages, bacon, and hot dogs.
  • Eat Some Foods More Often. Choose foods that have more nutrients for the calories they provide more often, like vegetables and fruits. You can’t go wrong if you make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Head to Class Prepared. Remember to pack healthy snacks when you head to class. This will help you avoid vending machine pitfalls.
  • Use the Nutrition Facts Label. To compare the sodium, calories, fats, and sugars in your foods, read the labels.
  •  Drink Water.

Keep Moving

Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity daily.

  • Aerobic: Most of the 60 or more minutes a day should be either moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, and should include vigorous-intensity physical activity at least 3 days a week.
  • Muscle-strengthening: As part of their 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include muscle-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days of the week.
  • Bone-strengthening: As part of their 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include bone-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days of the week.

Grab a Friend! Take friends along for exercise and spend quality time together.

Have Fun. To keep yourself interested, choose something that you enjoy.

If you miss a day or a few days of physical activity, stick with the plan and continue. DON’T QUIT!


Source: CDC, choosemyplate.gov, ahealthieramerica.org, health.gov