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National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month | Overview

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. This is a great opportunity to learn ways to promote a balanced lifestyle and prevent obesity. Registered Dietitian, Diane Lindsay-Adler, MS, RDN, CDN, shares tips and ideas for helping your child establish healthy habits.

Encourage healthful eating. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy products. Packing a bento box with different compartments is a great way to send your child to school with a balanced lunch. You can include:

  • One serving of their favorite fruit to satisfy their sweet tooth
    • 1/2 cup of berries, a small apple, or half of a banana
  • One serving of bite-sized vegetables
    • Carrot sticks, peppers, or cucumber slices
  • A source of protein that your child enjoys
    • Rolled-up turkey slices, a hard-boiled egg, beans, edamame, or bite-sized chicken sausage pieces
  • Whole grains containing fiber that can help with staying fuller longer.
    • Whole grain crackers, cereal, bread, or brown rice
  • Dairy products containing calcium to support healthy bone and tooth growth
    • Low-fat string cheese, low-fat yogurt, and skim milk

*Note: children under two should consume full fat dairy products as the fat is important for healthy brain development

Get moving! The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that children 3-5 years old should be physically active throughout the day. Children 6–17 years old need at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. Exercise snacks throughout the day can count toward daily exercise.

  • Exercise snack – a short burst of movement that can be done at any point throughout the day including:
    • Take your pet for a walk
    • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
    • Learn a new TikTok dance
    • Help with cleaning around the house
    • Take a walk or hike with family

Improve sleep. An association has been found between poor sleep habits in children and the development of obesity. Poor sleep habits may increase appetite and decrease physical activity.

How much sleep does my child need?

  • 1-3 years old: 12 to 14 hours a night
  • 3-5 years old: 11 to 13 hours a night
  • 5-12 years old: 10 to 11 hours a night
  • Adolescents: 8.5 to 9.25 hours a night

Teaching your child healthy habits when they are young can prepare them for a lifetime of wellness. Nutrition consultations offer a careful assessment of your child’s medical and dietary history and a review of your family’s day-to-day lifestyle to provide a nutrition plan with specific goals. Click here to set up a nutrition consultation with our Registered Dietitian, Diane Lindsay-Adler, MS, RDN, CDN.