The Importance of a Preventative Approach to Childhood Obesity

Data from 2017 indicated that 30% of children and youth (those aged 5-17) in Canada were considered overweight or obese. In a comparison between the provinces and territories, Alberta had the lowest percentage in the country at 21.8%; while this statistic is admirable, there is room for improvement.  

Obesity is one of the leading causes of many cardiovascular and metabolic disorders, such as hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, sleep apnea, myocardial infarction, and stroke. The Bogalusa Heart Study – a longitudinal study of cardiovascular risk factors – found that the foundation for adult cardiovascular disease is built in childhood, highlighting the importance of a preventative approach to childhood obesity.  

The tools for preventing childhood obesity are simple: physical activity combined with a healthy diet, yet in practice, there seems to be a disconnect in implementing these fundamentals. The following strategies can form part of a family-based approach to promoting a healthier lifestyle, reducing the risk of childhood obesity 

Family Meals and Healthy at Home Food Choices: 

Children often learn their behaviours from parents and parental figures. “A practice what you preach” approach at home can be the first step in building healthy behaviours for your children.


Physical Activity

As per the Canadian Physical Activity guidelines, children should be getting at least one hour of physical activity per day

Promoting Consistent Sleep Schedules

Research shows that a good night’s sleep can be preventative against type 2 diabetes, obesity, attention deficit, and other behavioral issues in children 

Limiting Screen Time

Screen exposure has been shown to increase the risk for obesity. This is thought to occur because of the increased amount of time sitting down and the tendency to snack while watching

Given the known negative impacts of childhood obesity on health, well-being, and longevity, it is imperative that we take action to reduce known risk factors. Implementing some of the simple strategies mentioned above can have long-lasting impacts on our children’s future.

Shelby Sheppard
Nurse Practitioner

Return to Article Library

Book a Consult
  • Schedule
    your complimentary

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.