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.
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
- 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?
For More Information
- Children and physical activity
- Healthy eating for parents and children
- Tackling obesity in Canada: Childhood obesity and excess weight rates in Canada
- HSBC Infographic: Do Relationships Matter to the Health of Canada’s Youth?
- Health Behaviour in School-aged Children in Canada: Focus on Relationships
- Active transportation