What leads to weight gain?
Why is there concern about overweight and obesity in children?
Why is physical activity important for young children?*
What can you do about your child's weight?
Need more information?
Physical activity can help children and adults maintain a healthy weight!
Overweight and obesity rates continue to increase in the U.S. as well as Maine.
|Overweight and Obese||Obese|
|U.S. children 2-19 years||17%|
|U.S. children 2-5 years||10.4%|
|U.S. children 6-11 years||19.6%|
|U.S. children 12-19 years||18.1%|
- Poor food choices
- Lack of physical activity (play time for children; leisure time physical activity for adults)
- Screen time (television, computer time, video games, etc) – when children have a lot of screen time in their day, they not only have less time for physical play time, but there is a good chance they are doing "mindless" eating, are seeing many ads for unhealthy foods (which influence food purchases later); screen time also lowers a person's metabolic rate (number of calories the body uses while at rest)
- Surroundings (such as busy streets which are not safe areas for children to play outside)
- Genetics (what we were born with)
- Increases the risk of heart disease – obese children have higher rates of "adult" problems, including high cholesterol and increased blood pressure
- Increased rates of Type 2 Diabetes (in the past, this was a problem only found in overweight adults)
- Sleep apnea (also a problem normally only for overweight adults)
- Increased asthma problems
- If a child is obese, he or she will most likely be an obese adult
- Higher health care costs over a lifetime
Active play helps babies and young children to develop normally. Through playing, children learn:
- About their bodies
- What their bodies can do
- How to control things around them
- Important motor skills like how to crawl, walk, run, hop, skip, jump, and slide
Active play enhances skills children will need later in life for math, science and reading.
*Information from: Parent's Guide to Physical Play, The Diane Lindner-Goldberg Child Institute, Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y.
Get active with your children!
Choose healthy foods for your family – remember that a parent's job is to choose what foods to feed your children. If you have questions about healthy food choices, talk to your WIC counselor.
- Include fruits and/or vegetables at every meal.
- Choose low-fat dairy foods for your family.
- Limit high-calorie snack foods in the house (like chips, cookies, or brownies).
- Keep fresh fruits handy for snacks.
- Limit sugar-sweetened beverages (including fruit juice); provide children with water when they are thirsty between meals.
Set a good example! Make playtime a part of your day?young children are more likely to be involved in active play if you join them. Show them that active play is fun!
- Reward good behavior with fitness activities, not food or extra screen time. Take a walk, go swimming, or have snow play time.
- Look for ways to spend family time in active play. Go biking or walking together, fly a kite, or plan a day at the beach together.
- Let your children see you doing active things every day
- Limit screen time; the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends: No TV or screen time for children 2 years or younger, and no more than 2 hours screen time per day for children older than 2 years.
Head Start Body Start
Keep ME Well
Healthy Maine Partnerships
Walking Trails in Maine
Tips for Parents: Ideas to Help Children Maintain a Healthy Weight
We Can! Ways to Enhance Children's Activity and Nutrition
Eat Smart. Play Hard
Choose My Plate for healthy eating tips for you and your family http://www.choosemyplate.gov/
Fruits and Veggies More Matters
Let's Go! Resources
President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports
- Monday - Friday 8am-5pm
- Voice: (207) 287-3991
Instate Toll Free:
TTY: Maine relay 711
- Mailing address:
11 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333
Phone Number to your
Local WIC Clinic
East Wilton 207-645-3764
Presque Isle 207-768-3026
FY Policies (PDF*)
- Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts
- Produce Safety
- FDA Looks for Answers on Arsenic in Rice
- Dole Fresh Vegetables Announces Precautionary Recall of Limited Number of Salads
- Keeping Your Food and Water Safe during Floods, Hurricanes, and Power Outages
- Constituent Updates
- Bumble Bee Foods Voluntary Recall on 5-Ounce Chunk Light Tuna Products Due to Loose Seals
- Townsend Farms Voluntarily Recalls
- Kraft Voluntarily Recalls String Cheese