What is childhood obesity?

Updated:Aug 4,2014

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 these resources to help you understand childhood obesity and what you can do to fight it.
  • Understanding 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.
     
  • AHA Recommendation - Overweight in Children - Obese children are more likely to be obese adults. Successfully preventing or treating overweight in childhood may help reduce the risk of heart disease, adult obesity and other complications.
     
  • AHA Scientific Position - Physical Activity and Children - Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for developing heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, overweight/obesity, and diabetes. The American Heart Association recommends that children and adolescents participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.
     
  • AHA Scientific Position - Dietary Recommendations for Healthy Children - The American Heart Association has specific healthy dietary guideline recommendations for all adults and children over the age of 2 years. more
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This content was last reviewed on 08/2014.

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