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  • September 2022 Healthy Eating for Childhood Obesity Prevention Newsletter


Healthy Eating for Childhood
Obesity Prevention

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, a great time to consider healthier eating habits for young people to help prevent childhood obesity.

Childhood overweight and obesity are serious problems in the United States, where more than 40 percent of young people are overweight or obese. Childhood overweight and obesity increase the risk for chronic health issues during adulthood, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Young people with obesity are also at increased risk for a variety of physical health issues, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and impaired glucose tolerance. Type 2 diabetes was formerly known as adult-onset diabetes, but young people are developing the condition now as a result of overweight and obesity.

Young people who are overweight or obese are also at higher risk for experiencing mental health issues, such as depression, and social problems, such as bullying.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans examines young people’s current intakes from MyPlate’s food groups (vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and protein foods) compared with recommended intakes. In general, children and teens are consuming too many added sugars and too much saturated fat and sodium while not consuming enough of the healthy foods they need for optimal growth, development, and health.

Read on to learn more about dietary recommendations to help young people grow healthy and strong and prevent childhood obesity. Also, discover just a few of our many nutrition education materials that are perfect to teach young people about good nutrition and healthy eating.

Tips to Help Young People Eat Healthier Foods

Here are some tips to help ensure young people eat healthier foods, focus on good nutrition, and make the most out of every bit they consume.

  • Focus on nutrient-dense foods. Nutrient-dense are foods that promote good health. They provide vitamins and minerals, but they have little or no added sugars, saturated fat, or sodium. Nutrient-dense foods include a wide variety of vegetables, fruits (particularly whole fruits), grains (especially whole-grains), low-fat and fat-free dairy, lean proteins, and healthy oils, such as vegetable oils and the oils in seafood.

Our SpinSmart™ Nutrition Wheel is a fun
activity for learning about healthy food choices.

  • Ensure young people have consume enough low-fat and fat-free dairy. As children hit their teen years, they need to increase their dairy intake to get the calcium and other nutrients they need for healthy growth. Low-fat and fat-free milk and yogurt without added sugars are examples of nutrient-dense dairy foods.

The Milk Fat Comparison Display shows the percentage
of calories from fat in four different varieties of milk.

  • Have young people consume more whole grains. Half of all grains consumed should be whole grains. Young people tend to consume more grains than they need, and they primarily consume refined grains with limited consumption of whole grains. Whole grains are an important source of dietary fiber (which aids digestion and may lower cholesterol levels); essential B vitamins (which are important for the nervous system); magnesium (which is important for bone health); and selenium (which enhances the immune system).

  • Add more seafood to young people’s protein routine. With the exception of teen girls, young people tend to consume enough protein. For optimal nutrition, it is recommended that everyone consume a wide variety of lean protein sources, such as lean meat and poultry; soy products, nuts and seeds; and peas, beans, and lentils. Young people should also consume more seafood because of the healthy fatty acids it contains. Many young people rarely consume seafood.

The EatWise Pop-Up Banner is a great way
to display the basics of good nutrition.

  • Make half the plate a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, and offer fruits and vegetables as snacks. Young people tend not to eat enough vegetables, and they need to eat a variety of different types of vegetables: dark green; red and orange; beans, peas, and lentils; starchy vegetables; and other vegetables. They should also consume a variety of colorful fruits with a focus on whole fruits instead of fruit juices, which lack dietary fiber.

Our Cold Case™: The Facts Against Sweetened Drinks Display uses
sugar-filled beverage models to depict how much sugar is in popular drinks.

  • Avoid foods that are high in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium. Young people are getting too many foods and beverages that are high in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium. Sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soft drinks and sports drinks, add many extra calories to a young person’s diet without adding nutritional value. Avoiding processed foods, consuming healthy beverages (such as water and low-fat or fat-free milk), and enjoying fruits and vegetables for snacks instead of salty chips and snack cakes can help young people get the nutrition they need without the added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium that can contribute to childhood obesity and other health problems.

Discover More Great Nutrition Education Materials and Models

Health Edco has a wide range of educational materials that are perfect to teach audiences of all ages the essentials of good nutrition, from food group basics to portion control. Find more great teaching tools in our product section dedicated to nutrition education materials and models.

The information contained in this article is not intended to replace the advice of a healthcare professional.

©2022 Health Edco®