How to Fight Childhood Obesity

Nutrition DIva's 4 tips for raising healthier kids.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
4-minute read
Episode #153

I have to applaud first lady Michelle Obama for making childhood obesity one of her keystone initiatives. The number of obese kids in the U.S. has tripled over the last 30 years. Today, one in every 5 kids is obese and a great many more are overweight. Not only is this a cruddy way to spend your childhood, but overweight kids are highly likely to become overweight adults, battling both their weight and the associated health problems for a lifetime.

Just as with the obesity epidemic among adults, the problem of childhood obesity is complex and tenacious—more than we can tackle in a 5 minute podcast. But you have to start somewhere. If you’re concerned about your child’s weight, start here:

3 Ways to Combat Childhood Obesity

Tip #1: Cut (Way) Down on Sweet Beverages 

Of all the less-than-healthy foods kids consume, soda and other sweetened beverages, including juice and sports drinks, may be the worst. They have no nutritional value, they contain a lot of calories but don’t make a dent on hunger, and 100% of the calories they contain are in the form of refined sugar—probably the most damaging type of calories you can consume. 

See also: Why Is Sugar Bad?

Kids consume about twice as much refined sugar as the generally recommended maximum, and about half of it comes in the form of sweetened beverages. Simply eliminating—or dramatically limiting—these drinks is a no-brainer. Soda is obviously a big problem. But you also want to be on guard against sweetened drinks that masquerade as healthy.


About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.