In Canada over 26% of children and youth (1 in 4) are considered overweight or obese. And obesity in childhood often leads to obesity in adulthood.
A sign of childhood obesity is a weight well above the average for a child's height and age. Overweight and obesity problems in childhood are best handled by developing healthy habits that help the child "grow out of it". As a parent, you can establish a healthy lifestyle habit from "Day 1", of if your child's weight is not healthy – take steps to change this.
Why should I be concerned about childhood obesity?
For obese children the chance of leading a long and healthy life is seriously threatened.
In the young, obesity and overweight are associated with physical conditions such as joint problems and difficulty in breathing while asleep (sleep apnea), and emotional-social conditions such as low self esteem and social isolation.
Obese teenagers almost always become obese adults. In adulthood obesity and overweight can often lead to serious illness and premature death.
What can I do if my child's weight is unhealthy?
Start TODAY by helping your entire family to develop or maintain healthy lifestyle habits. A focus on a "problem child" is not likely to help, but if the whole family has healthy habits, your child can over time be helped to regain a healthier weight.
If your child has asked for assistance with his/her weight or if your doctor has stated that your child's weight is not healthy, research ways to help your child (see next section).
Where can I go for more information about childhood obesity?
The Childhood Obesity Foundation is a BC non-profit society with helpful information.
See links below for additional information.
Nutrition A-Z (Dietitians of Canada), a comprehensive website about healthy eating.
Canada's Food Guide - the basics of healthy eating from the Government of Canada.
Physical Activity Guides - benefits, tips and guidelines for physical activity for Canadians.
Shapedown BC is a program that helps children, adolescents, and their families achieve healthy weights
Your Healthy Weight, a website offering resources from Registered Dietitians at Dairy Farmers of Canada.
The Center for Healthy Weights- BC, a website with a variety of resources that focus on the overall well-being of the child or youth.
Sip Smart!BC helps teach children in Grades 4-6 (and their parents) to make health drink choices.
Screen Smart is an initiative to decrease recreational screen time and increase activity levels of students.