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Healthier Diet for Young Children. Overweight and Obesity in Children. Since 1980 the rates of obesity have doubled for children & tripled for teenagers. More than 15% of all children 6 to 9 years of age are overweight. Reasons for Increased Obesity Rates.

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Healthier diet for young children

Healthier Dietfor YoungChildren

Overweight and obesity in children
Overweight and Obesity in Children

  • Since 1980 the rates of obesity have doubled for children & tripled for teenagers.

  • More than 15% of all children 6 to 9 years of age are overweight.

Reasons for increased obesity rates
Reasons for Increased Obesity Rates

  • Increased availability of snack foods

  • Increased sitting time

    • TV

    • Videogames

    • Phone

  • Larger portions

  • Eating out more

  • Lack of physical activity

How to change eating behavior
How to change eating behavior

  • Involve children in food preparation

  • Making healthy substitutions

  • Finding the right portion sizes

  • Offering healthy snack choices

  • Offering healthy meal choices

  • Increasing activity for the child and the family

Getting kids interested in food and meals
Getting Kids Interested in Food and Meals

Involve you child

  • in the kitchen,

  • In meal planning, and

  • grocery shopping.

    Grow a garden and allow your child to plant the seeds and attend to the plants as they grow.

Set meal times
Set meal times

  • To cut down on constant snacking “grazing”, eat meals around the kitchen or dining room table at set times.

  • Give appropriate low calorie snacks between meals.

Meal comparison
Meal Comparison

Typical daily meals

Healthy daily meals

Whole grain cereal, skim milk, juice.

Turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread, baked chips and juice.

Baked chicken, brown rice, steamed broccoli and unsweetened tea with lemon.

  • Omelet, sausage, biscuits, and juice.

  • Bologna sandwich on white bread, soft drink and chips.

  • Fried chicken, coleslaw and French fries.

2187 Calories, 131 grams of fat

1480 Calories, 17.5 grams of fat


  • Young children need more frequent meals than adults, and they need snacks between meals to support growth and development.

  • When snacks are planned, the child will be more likely to have a healthier snack

Healthy breakfasts
Healthy Breakfasts

Cereals Made From Whole Grains

All Bran or High Bran Cereals


Wheat Chex

Grape Nuts

Healthy Choice Toasted Brown Sugar Squares

Just Right with Fruit and Nuts


Raisin Squares Mini-Wheats

Frosted Mini-Wheats (Reg. and Bite Size)


Golden Wheat Nutri-Grain

Almond-Raisin Nutri-Grain

Almond Oatmeal Crisp

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Crisp

Raisin Oatmeal Crisp

Oatmeal Squares

Puffed Wheat

Shredded Wheat

Shredded Wheat and Bran

Frosted Shredded Wheat (reg. and spoon size)

Crispy ‘n’ Raisins Wheaties

100% Bran

Bran Buds All-Bran

Extra Fiber All-Bran

Original All-Bran

Bran Flakes

Multi-Bran Chex

Complete Wheat Bran Flakes

Complete Oat Bran Flakes

Fiber One

Oat Bran

Oat Bran Flakes

Oat Bran Flakes with Raisins

Organic Bran with Raisins

Raisin Bran

Raisin Bran Flakes

Whole Grain Wheat Raisin Bran

Raisin Bran Total

Increasing activity
Increasing Activity

  • Limit TV and videogame times.

  • Provide equipment for outdoor activity: bikes, roller blades, balls, Frisbees and kites.

  • Include the whole family when taking bike rides, outings to the park, beach and mountains.

  • Arrange hiking trips.

  • Include the children when taking the dog for a walk.

Comprehensive approach
Comprehensive Approach

  • A healthy lifestyle for children includes an appropriate amount of healthy, unprocessed foods and drinks, adequate amount of physical activity and limiting screen time.

    • Children should engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity on most, preferably all days of the week.

  • Set consistent patterns of being physically active and consume healthy foods as an example to your child.


To promote healthier lives through research and education in nutrition and preventive medicine.

The Pennington Center has several research areas, including:

Clinical Obesity Research

Experimental Obesity

Functional Foods

Health and Performance Enhancement

Nutrition and Chronic Diseases

Nutrition and the Brain

Dementia, Alzheimer’s and healthy aging

Diet, exercise, weight loss and weight loss maintenance

The research fostered in these areas can have a profound impact on healthy living and on the prevention of common chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension and osteoporosis.

The Division of Education provides education and information to the scientific community and the public about research findings, training programs and research areas, and coordinates educational events for the public on various health issues.

We invite people of all ages and backgrounds to participate in the exciting research studies being conducted at the Pennington Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. If you would like to learn more, visit the clinical trials web page at or call (225) 763-3000.


Beth Kalicki

Heli Roy, PhD, RD

Division of EducationPennington Biomedical Research Center