This knowledge path directs readers to a selection of current, high-quality resources
about the prevention, identification, management, and treatment of overweight
and obesity in children and adolescents in homes, schools, and communities.
Health professionals, program administrators, policymakers, and researchers
can use this knowledge path to learn more about overweight and obesity in children
and adolescents, to improve care, for program development, and to locate training
resources and information to answer specific questions. Separate briefs list
resources for families, schools, and child care and early education programs. This knowledge path has been developed
by the MCH Library at Georgetown University and will be updated periodically.
View Related MCH Library Resources for guides about food marketing, nutrition, and physical activity.
Resources for Professionals
For a definition of the terms, metrics, and cut-off values used to describe and assess overweight and obesity in children and adolescents, see the report, Ogden CL, Flegal KM. 2010. Changes in Terminology for Childhood Overweight and Obesity. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
For a description of the magnitude of the problem of obesity in children and adolescents and the challenges and strategies being used to combat the problem, see the report, Bell J, Rogers VW, Dietz WH, Ogden CL, Schuler C, Popovic T. 2011. CDC Grand Rounds: Childhood Obesity in the United States. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). View the video clip of the presentation.
For an overview about the prevalence, causes, and consequences of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents, including disparities in racial, ethnic, and low-income groups, see the booklet, American Heart Association (AHA). 2010. Understanding Childhood Obesity. Dallas, TX: American Heart Association (AHA).
- American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Overweight and Obesity. Initiatives, policy statements, and an advocacy tool.
- Association of State Public Health Nutritionists (ASPHN):
Moving to the Future. Offers a collection of tools
to develop successful community programs that promote healthy
eating and physical activity. Includes instructions for conducting
a community assessment, writing objectives, developing a plan,
and evaluating programs.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Childhood Overweight and Obesity. Resources that address how childhood overweight and obesity are measured; the
prevalence, causes, and health consequences of childhood obesity; and strategies
for prevention and promotion of healthier lifestyle choices. Presents reports, recommendations, data
and statistics, fact sheets, social media tools,
and information about state and community programs. Also offers tools and
help states plan, implement, and evaluate community health interventions and
programs to address childhood obesity. Includes
Growth Charts. Tools and
for plotting the growth
of infants, children,
and adolescents through
age 20. Also see the set of training
modules for health
the pediatric growth
charts in clinical
and public health settings.
Social Marketing for Nutrition and Physical Activity. Online course for public health professionals about how to use social marketing to plan nutrition, physical activity, and obesity-prevention programs. Also view case studies of state organizations that have gone through the social marketing planning process.
Also see CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) and the Chronic Disease State Policy Tracking System.
- ChangeLab Solutions: National Policy and Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN). Resources to help advocates pursue legal and policy strategies to encourage healthy eating and active living in four broad issue areas: healthy community food systems, healthy schools, healthy land-use planning, and food marketing.
- Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight and Health (CWH). Program information, publications, and presentations about preventing obesity and promoting the health of children and their families in diverse settings, including schools, child care, after-school programs, the workplace, and neighborhoods. University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health.
- Harvard School of Public Health: Obesity Prevention Source. Research summaries about the causes and consequences of obesity in children
and adolescents; obesity-prevention strategies for families, child care providers,
schools, health care settings, and worksites; and childhood obesity statistics
and trends for the United States and other regions around the world.
- Health Care Innovations Exchange: Paths to Healthy Weight. Evidence-based innovations and tools for health professionals and communities to prevent overweight and obesity. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
- Healthy People 2020 (HP2020). National health-promotion and disease-prevention
initiative of the Department of Health and Human Services. View the overview, objectives, and recommended interventions and resources for nutrition and weight status and physical activity. Use the MAP-IT (Mobilize, Assess, Plan, Implement, Track) strategy to implement HP2020 locally and view your state's plan for making progress on the HP2020 objectives.
- Institute of Medicine (IOM): Obesity Prevention. Reports and workshop summaries to inform the obesity prevention efforts of policy makers and researchers.
- Leadership, Education and Training (LET) Program in Maternal and Child Nutrition. Web-based curricula and training information about maternal and child health nutrition for nutrition professionals and other health professionals who work with women, infants, children, and adolescents. Curricula topics include childhood obesity.
School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota.
- Let's Move. Nationwide
initiative launched by the First Lady to engage and mobilize all sectors of
society to advance the administration's goal of solving the problem
of childhood obesity in a generation. The initiative focuses on empowering
parents and caregivers to make healthy choices for their families; serving
healthier food in schools; ensuring access to healthy, affordable food; and
increasing physical activity. Includes facts about childhood obesity; prevention
tips and strategies for families, schools, and communities; and reports.
- National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR). Projects, workshops, forums, and funding opportunities to address the problem
of childhood obesity with a special emphasis on the populations and communities
in which obesity rates are highest and rising the fastest: African Americans,
Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and children living in communities where most residents have low incomes. Resources for researchers and health professionals
include databases, a resource list, an electronic newsletter, and a blog. NCCOR is a collaboration among the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
- NICHQ (National Institute for Children's Health Quality: Obesity. Resources for improving the quality of care given by health professionals for the prevention and treatment of obesity in children and adolescents.
- National Institutes of Health (NIH): Obesity Research. Scientific research on obesity prevention and treatment.
- Pennington Biomedical Research Center: Teaching Resources. Powerpoint presentations for health educators about nutrition, physical activity, and obesity in children and adolescents. Also presents video clips and a collection of fact sheets for families.
- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF): Childhood Obesity. National programs and grants that aim to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic by improving access to affordable, healthy foods and increasing opportunities for physical activity in schools and communities. Includes
Healthy Eating Research: Building Evidence to Support Childhood Obesity. Research information, tools, and publications about environmental and policy strategies to promote healthy eating among children to prevent childhood obesity, especially among those at highest risk (i.e., racial and ethnic populations and families with low incomes).
PreventObesity.net. Advocacy tools, services, and support for people and organizations who are working to
reverse the childhood obesity epidemic.
Salud America! The RWJF Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children. National program that aims to unite and increase the number of Latino scientists seeking environmental and policy solutions to address obesity among Latino children. Includes research briefs and a monthly newsletter about obesity prevention among Latino children.
Also see the Health Games
- Weight of the Nation.
A four-part documentary series, each featuring case studies, interviews with
experts, and individuals and their families struggling with obesity. The third
segment addresses childhood obesity. Includes screening kits with discussion
guides and a set of 12 short video clips highlighting the many implications
of obesity. Presented by HBO Documentary Films and the Institute
of Medicine (IOM), in association with the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes
of Health (NIH), and in partnership with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation
and Kaiser Permanente. Learn about NIH
research featured in the series. Also see companion documentary, Weight
of the Nation for Kids.
- Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. Faculty presentations, seminars, journal articles, policy briefs, reports, newsletter issues, and audio clips about research and public policy aimed at improving nutrition, preventing obesity, and reducing weight stigma. The economic impact of obesity; food and addiction; food marketing to children and adolescents; obesity regulation, legislation and litigation; and weight bias and discrimination are among the many topics addressed. Also see Rudd's legislation database.
Reports, Guides, and Other Resources
Data and Statistics
Library has a collection of publications and other resources about
obesity in children and adolescents. To view them, search the
library's catalog MCHLine® using
form. Type obesity in the keyword
field and set publication date limits. Click on Search MCHLine to get
your results. Add keywords to further refine your search, using terms
such as adolescent, school, "early childhood".
- Literature and Research Databases
- Health Games Research Database. Games, publications, blogs and other tools, and organizations addressing the use of digital games for health and health care. Institute for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research at the University of California, Santa Barbara, with funding by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).
- Also see the MCH Library resource brief, Maternal and Child Health Literature and Research Databases and, in particular, the Active
Living Research Literature Database, Food and Nutrition Information Center (FNIC) databases, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Series, the National Agricultural Library (NAL) Catalog (AGRICOLA), PubMed, and PubMed
- Programs Databases
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Chronic Disease State Policy Tracking System. Legislative and regulatory information about nutrition, obesity, and physical activity.
- Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity Legislation Database. Food policy and obesity legislation filed by Congress, states, and select cities and counties. Topics include BMI screening, obesity, physical activity, marketing to children, and weight bias.
- Also see the MCH Library resource brief, Maternal
and Child Health Programs Databases, and, in particular, the Healthy
Counties Database and the Prevention
Research Centers (PRC).
News and Commentary
Resources for Families
Resources for Schools
Resources for Child Care and Early Education Programs
Related MCH Library Resources
Overweight and Obesity in Children and Adolescents: Knowledge Path,
4th ed. (December 2012). (Updated: August 2014).
Author: Susan Brune Lorenzo, M.L.S., MCH Library.
Reviewers: S. Jean Emans, M.D., Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School; Alison Field, Sc.D., Boston Children's Hospital; Stephanie Loup, M.P.H. and R.D. candidate, University of Minnesota; Shree Mohanty, M.A., M.S., R.D., L.D., Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Region V; Olivia Pickett, M.A., M.L.S., MCH Library; Tracy Richmond, M.D., M.P.H., Boston Children's Hospital; Mikaela Robertson, M.P.H. and R.D. candidate, University of Minnesota; Kendrin Sonneville, R.D., Sc.D., Boston Children's Hospital.
Editor: Ruth Barzel, M.A., MCH Library.