Public Health Awareness Campaigns


September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. NJPCA has compiled a variety of resources that can be shared with patients and the public to raise awareness.

What is Childhood Obesity?

Childhood obesity is a complex and major public health concern in the United States. This condition occurs when a child’s weight exceeds the normal or healthy weight as it relates to the child’s age. Children that are obese are impacted by poor eating behaviors, physical inactivity, and insufficient health education about healthy food options and nutritious meals. Due to these circumstances, children are at increased risk of obesity, premature death and/or disability as they reach adulthood. In addition, childhood obesity can lead to chronic obesity-related health concerns such as high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma and even cancer.

What factors influence childhood obesity and what are the consequences?

Childhood obesity is influenced by behavior and many other factors including poor parental eating habits within the household; encouraging fast food over nutritious meals; the prevalence of fast-food restaurants within the community; genetics; and low socio-economic status.  Obesity can also be influenced by social factors that include sleepless nights, lack of green space to promote physical activity, high-calorie food and sugary drinks and the lack of affordable healthy food. An obese child can even experience several consequences due to the child’s weight that may lead to bullying; social exclusion; low self-esteem; psychological problems leading to anxiety or depression as well as long-term health effects.

How can parents help prevent childhood obesity and promote healthy diets?

Parents can prevent childhood obesity by addressing healthy behaviors at home, but the support of providers and the community is also key to promote children’s health. Parents can prevent childhood obesity by providing a nutritious breakfast daily; encouraging kids to drink more water instead of sugary drinks; introducing more fruits and vegetables; promoting physical activity daily and providing low-calorie healthy snacks and food options. Additionally, the community can also get involved by creating more recreational areas and public spaces to increase physical activity in children and adults. Community Health Center providers are also an integral part of children’s health by providing annual physical assessments, monitoring a child’s weight and promoting nutritional services to achieve and/or maintain a healthy weight. Schools and educators can also promote behavioral change and reinforce healthy eating practices.

Resources Cited:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

  1. American Obesity Foundation

  1. Let’s Move! Campaign