What is childhood obesity?

Updated:Jan 3,2014

Childhood Obesity Under Magnifying GlassToday, about one in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese, nearly triple the rate in 1963. Among children today, obesity is causing a broad range of health problems that previously weren’t seen until adulthood. These include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and elevated blood cholesterol levels. There are also psychological effects: Obese children are more prone to low self-esteem, negative body image and depression. And excess weight at young ages has been linked to higher and earlier death rates in adulthood.

Use the resources below to help you understand childhood obesity and what you can do to fight it.

Childhood Obesity Resources

CHO Sourcebook - horizontal imageUnderstanding Childhood Obesity is an American Heart Association sourcebook on child nutrition and physical activity. Both the full and condensed downloadable PDF versions are an update of the 2005 version, A Nation At Risk. It’s a great resource for media, policymakers, health professionals, school officials and other stakeholders to begin meaningful dialogue toward concrete solutions to the obesity epidemic.

Learn more:
American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown Praises House Passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act
On December 2, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, a reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act.  This bipartisan legislation will give more children access to nutritious meals and remove junk food and sugary beverages from vending machines in schools. The American Heart Association strongly believes that a healthier school environment will nurture academic achievement and reduce childhood obesity rates.
Check out AHA advocacy activities in nutrition and obesity.

This content was last reviewed on 01/10/2013.

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