Strategies and Solutions
There is no single or simple solution to the childhood obesity epidemic, but learn what states, communities, and parents can do to help make the healthy choice the easy choice for children, adolescents, and their families.
States and communities can–
- Assess their retail food environment to better understand the current landscape and differences in accessibility to healthier foods.
See Healthier Food Retail: Beginning the Assessment Process in Your State or Community [PDF-522k].
- Provide incentives to existing supermarkets and farmers' markets to establish their businesses in low-income areas or to sell healthier foods.
See Improving Access to Healthy Food – PolicyLink and The Food Trust.
- Expand programs that bring local fruits and vegetables to schools.
See National Farm to School Network.
- Put salad bars in schools.
See Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools.
- Pursue a “Spectrum of Opportunities” to help early care and education facilities in their jurisdictions support optimal nutrition, breastfeeding, physical activity and screen time standards and practices.
See Spectrum of Opportunities for Obesity Prevention in the Early Care and Education Setting Technical Assistance Briefing Document [PDF-174Kb], Preventing Childhood Obesity in Early Care and Education Programs [PDF-4.71Mb], Let’s Move! Child Care, and Breastfeeding and Early Care and Education: Increasing Support for Breastfeeding Families [PDF-851Kb].
- Enroll elementary, middle, and high schools in USDA's Team Nutrition program and apply for certification through the HealthierUS School Challenge.
See USDA Team Nutrition and HealthierUS School Challenge.
- Increase access to drinking water and other healthier beverages in early care and education facilities. See Increasing Access to Drinking Water and Other Healthier Beverages in Early Care and Education Settings [PDF - 3.76Mb]
- Increase access to free drinking water and limit the sale of drinks with added sugars in schools by establishing school wellness and nutrition policies. See Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools and Water in Schools.
- Support breastfeeding in hospitals and the workplace.
See Breastfeeding Promotion & Support to find out how Health Care and Employment can support breastfeeding.
- Create and maintain safe neighborhoods for physical activity and improve access to parks and playgrounds.
See National Center for Safe Routes to School and National Recreation and Parks Association.
- Support quality daily physical education in schools and daily physical activity in child care facilities.
See Working with Schools to Increase Physical Activity Among Children and Adolescents in Physical Education Classes and SPARK (Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids).
- Follow the advice of the American Academy of Pediatrics and limit media time for kids to no more than 1 to 2 hours of quality programming per day whether at home, school or child care.
See AAP Recommendation on Television Time for Children and Adolescents.
- Visit the child care centers to see if they serve healthier foods and drinks, and limit TV and video time.
See National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies.
- Work with schools to limit foods and drinks with added sugars, fat and salt that can be purchased outside the school lunch program.
See Recommended Nutrition Standards for Foods Outside of School Meal Programs[PDF-1.5Mb].
- Provide plenty of fruits and vegetables, limit foods high in fat and sugars, and prepare healthier foods at family meals.
See 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Healthy Recipes.
- Serve your family water instead of drinks with added sugars.
See Rethink Your Drink.
- Make sure your child gets physical activity each day.
See How much physical activity do children need?