Childhood obesity

Obesity rates among children and youth in Canada have nearly tripled in the last 30 years.

Children and youth who are obese are at higher risk of developing a range of health problems, and weight issues in childhood are likely to persist into adulthood.

For example, obese children have a high chance of remaining obese as adults.

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Health problems for obese children

Obese children are more likely to develop a range of health problems, including:

Physical health problems

  • high blood pressure or heart disease
  • type-2 diabetes
  • sleep apnea and other breathing problems
  • abnormal or missed menstrual cycles
  • bone and joint problems
  • reduced balance

Emotional health problems

  • low self-esteem and negative body image
  • depression
  • feeling judged
  • being teased or bullied

Helping your child maintain a healthy weight

As a parent, there are several ways to encourage your child to develop healthy eating habits and be physically active.

Tips for eating healthy

  • By following the food guide, you and your family can make healthy food choices and develop healthy eating habits.
  • Set a good example for your children by being a role model for healthy eating. Your children are more likely to try new foods if you eat them too.
  • Eat meals together as a family as often as possible. Make food the focus. Turn off the TV and put away electronic devices during mealtime. Children often eat better without these distractions.
  • Involve children in planning and preparing meals and snacks. This is a great way to teach kids healthy eating habits while connecting and spending quality time together as a family.

Tips for being physically active

  • Children and teenagers should participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day. This can include walking to and from school, playing sports, or riding a bike.
  • Set a good example. Try to add physical activity to your daily routine and encourage your children to join you.
  • Limit the amount of time your children spend on sedentary activities like watching television, playing video games, and surfing the web.
  • Be aware of the opportunities your community offers to help your family stay healthy. Are there bike paths nearby? What community programs are available throughout the year?

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