See, Play and Learn
Obesity means having too much body fat. It is different from being overweight, which means weighing too much. Both terms mean that a person's weight is greater than what's considered healthy for his or her height. Children grow at different rates, so it isn't always easy to know when a child has obesity or is overweight. Ask your health care provider to check whether your child's weight and height are in a healthy range.
If a weight-loss program is necessary, involve the whole family in healthy habits so your child doesn't feel singled out. Encourage healthy eating by:
- Serving more fruits and vegetables
- Buying fewer soft drinks and high-fat, high-calorie snack foods
- Making sure your child eats breakfast every day
- Eating fast food less often
- Not using food as a reward
Physical activity is also very important. Kids need about 60 minutes each day. It does not have to happen all at once. Several short periods of activity during the day are just as good.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Diagnosis and Tests
- About Child and Teen BMI (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- How Are Obesity and Overweight Diagnosed? (Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Also in Spanish
- Obesity Screening (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Stature-for-Age and Weight-for-Age Percentiles: Boys, 2 to 20 Years (National Center for Health Statistics) - PDF Also in Spanish
- Stature-for-Age and Weight-for-Age Percentiles: Girls 2 to 20 Years (National Center for Health Statistics) - PDF Also in Spanish
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Balance Food and Activity (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) Also in Spanish
- Families Finding the Balance: A Parent Handbook (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) - PDF Also in Spanish
- Help Your Child Stay at a Healthy Weight (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion) Also in Spanish
- Obesity Prevention: AAP Policy Explained (American Academy of Pediatrics)
- Proopiomelanocortin deficiency: MedlinePlus Genetics (National Library of Medicine)
Health Check Tools
- BMI (Body Mass Index) Calculator for Child and Teen (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
Statistics and Research
- Childhood Obesity Facts (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Obesity in Children (National Library of Medicine)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: The role of parents in behavioral treatment for adolescent obesity: design...
- Article: Effects of an Exercise Program on Cardiometabolic and Mental Health in...
- Article: Changes in objectively measured sleep after a multidisciplinary lifestyle intervention in...
- Obesity in Children -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Find a Nutrition Expert (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)
- KidsHealth (Nemours Foundation)
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
- Dealing With Feelings When You're Overweight (For Teens) (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish