Childhood and Teenage Obesity Defined


Lt Col Reynolds
Childhood and teenage obesity is a growing problem in the United States. In fact, research suggests that up to one in three kids is considered overweight or obese.[1] The widespread availability of sit-down entertainment, such as television, video games, and computers, makes it easy for children to become physically inactive. Snacks and fast food meals that are high in fat and calories can also be difficult for kids to avoid. These are contributing factors to childhood and teenage obesity.

Lt Col Phillips
That’s right, Dr. Reynolds. Obesity means having too much body fat, and overweight simply means weighing too much. Both terms indicate that a person weighs more than is healthy for their height. Because children grow at different rates, it’s often difficult to know when a child is obese or overweight. It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about your child’s weight to make sure they’re in a healthy range.

Lt Col Reynolds
Children and teenagers need parents to lead by example when it comes to healthy eating and activity. Obesity tends to run in families, and that’s partly due to shared habits and lifestyle. When parents eat healthy foods and get plenty of exercise, it’s more likely that their children will develop these good habits as well. Planning healthy meals and physical activities for the whole family is a good way to prevent childhood obesity. Parents should keep in mind that children need to know that they’re loved and supported regardless of their weight.

[1] “Childhood Obesity Facts,” CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION,, accessed July 7, 2016.