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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. A national education program working with parents and caregivers to address the growing problem of overweight in our nation’s youth. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

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U.S. Department of

Health and Human Services

National Institutes

of Health

A national education program working with parents and caregivers to address the growing problem of overweight in our nation’s youth.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute


What is we can

A national education program targeting youth, ages 8–13, and their parents and caregivers in home and community settings to meet the overall goal of preventing overweight and obesity.


Use in a

variety of



Science-based program for the entire




What is We Can!


It s time for we can now because
It’s time for We Can! now because…

  • National data show alarming rates in overweight and obesity in children and adults.

    • The percentage of children & teens that are overweight has doubled in past 30 years

    • About 16% of children (2–19 yrs) are overweight

    • Overweight is having a greater effect on minorities, including African American and Mexican American children

  • There are serious health problems related to overweight and obesity.

    • Heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, asthma, low self-esteem, isolation, eating disorders, and more

  • Helping children helps our families.


Why the increase
Why the increase?

  • Multiple causes

    • Lifestyle, environment, and genes

  • Bottom line is ENERGY BALANCE (calories and physical activity)

    • Since 1978, more calories are being consumed:

      • Larger food portions and sizes

      • More meals consumed outside the home

      • Increased soda, pizza, and candy consumption

    • Since 1970, fewer calories are being used up:

      • Declines in physical activity

      • Increases in sedentary lifestyles and screen time

        • Computers and television time


Why parents and caregivers
Why parents and caregivers?

  • Studies show parents as effective change agents concerning obesity.

  • The home is a primary source of nutrition for children.

  • Parents can act as effective role models for youth.


The we can parent curriculum
TheWe Can! Parent Curriculum

  • Is a 6-session program that focuses on “energy balance”

  • Has three topics of focus:

    • Smart nutrition

    • Physical activity

    • Screen time (TV, computer, video)

  • Encourages We Can! specific objectives:

    • Offering healthier foods in the home

    • Enjoying small portions at home and at


    • Limiting foods and beverages high in fat and

      added sugar

    • Increasing family fun with physical activity

    • Reducing screen time

  • Is not a weight loss program

  • Is supplemented with online content and resources


What can we can do for you
What can We Can! do for you?

  • We hope you’ll walk away with:

    • Strategies and tools

    • Ways to be an example

    • Resources for the future

  • And we hope you’ll enjoy learning together!