View trusted insights from KidsHealth.org, the No. 1 most-viewed health site for children, created by the experts at Nemours. We've also provided information from the most-respected nonprofit organizations.
From Nemours' KidsHealth
- Fitness and Your 13- to 18-Year-Old
- Fitness and Your 4- to 5-Year-Old
- Fitness and Your 2- to 3-Year-Old
- Fitness and Your 6- to 12-Year-Old
- Kids and Food: 10 Tips for Parents
- Your Child's Weight
- Healthy Eating
- Fitness for Kids Who Don't Like Sports
- Motivating Kids to Be Active
- Figuring Out Food Labels
- Keeping Portions Under Control
- Kids and On-the-Go Nutrition
- Body Mass Index (BMI) Charts
- Obesity Special Needs Factsheet
- Overweight and Obesity
- Weight Loss Surgery (Bariatric Surgery)
- School Lunches
- Kids and Exercise
Trusted External Resources
Obesity Special Needs Factsheet
What Teachers Should Know
About 1 in 3 U.S. kids and teens are considered overweight or obese. Genetics, lifestyle habits, or a combination of both may be involved.
Students who are obese are at risk for developing:
- type 2 diabetes
- high blood pressure
- bone and joint problems
- breathing problems
- sleep problems
- menstrual irregularities
Students who are obese may:
- tire easily or avoid activities that require exertion
- have breathing problems
- miss class time due to health problems associated with weight issues
- feel self-conscious or embarrassed about their appearance
- have issues with anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem
- need to take medication or eat special diets
It's important to keep in mind that students who are overweight or obese are often teased by classmates and targeted by bullies.
What Teachers Can Do
Be supportive of students who are overweight. Focus on strengths and help build self-esteem by encouraging their interests.
Be a role model for healthy behaviors, especially related to nutrition and exercise. Consider integrating lessons on nutrition and exercise into your lesson plans.
Make healthy eating and physical activity a classroom affair. If you allow snacks in your classroom, make sure they're nutritious. Avoid giving snacks to any of your students as rewards for good behavior. Encourage students to be active during recess and don't take away recess as punishment.
Encourage students to eat more fruit and vegetables, limit screen time, and be physically active every day. Physically active kids and teens also are more likely to be academically motivated, focused, and successful in school.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: April 28, 2017