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 and Territorial Public Health Nutrition Directors (ASTPHND). News, meeting and professional-development information, and resources about public health nutrition. Includes
Moving to the Future: Tools for Planning Nutrition and Physical Activity Programs. [Toolkit].
Role of State Public Health in Obesity Prevention. (2012). [Primer].
- 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
BMI Percentile Calculator for Child and Teen. (2011).
Body Mass Index: Considerations for Practitioners. (2009). [Practice brief].
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.
Health Equity Resource Toolkit for State Practitioners Addressing Obesity Disparities. (2012).
Hospital Support for Breastfeeding: Preventing Obesity Begins in Hospitals. (2011). [Fact sheet].
Overweight and Obesity Among People with Disabilities. (2010). [Fact sheet].
Prevalence of Obesity Among Children and Adolescents: United States, Trends 1963–1965 Through 2009–2010. (2012). [Data brief].
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.
Weight of the Nation™ 2012 Conference: Moving Forward, Reversing the Trend. (2012). [Program agenda, Video and audio clips, Speaker handouts].
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): Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention. Reports and materials from this interdisciplinary committee, which serves as
a focal point for national- and state-level policy discussions about childhood-obesity prevention. Includes
Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation. (2012). [Consensus report, Report brief, Infographic in English and Spanish,
Alliances for Obesity Prevention: Finding Common Ground—Workshop Summary. (2012).
Hunger and Obesity: Understanding a Food Insecurity Paradigm—Workshop Summary. (2011).
Legal Strategies in Childhood Obesity Prevention: Workshop Summary. (2011).
- 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 these reports:
the Problem of Childhood Obesity Within a Generation: Report to the President. (2010).
White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity: One Year Progress Report. (2011).
- 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).
- National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality (NICHQ): Childhood Obesity. Resources for improving the quality of care given by health professionals for the prevention and treatment of obesity in children and adolescents. Includes
Be Our Voice. Publications and tools to train and support health professionals and community
leaders to advocate for healthy eating and active living for children and their
families in their communities. Includes state and county fact sheets, an advocacy training course, and a resource library.
Building Healthier Communities: How Healthcare Professionals Are Fighting Childhood Obesity Outside the Clinic Walls. (2011). [Report].
Collaborate for Healthy Weight. Stories, strategies, and tools to create partnerships between primary care, public health, and community organizations to discover sustainable ways to promote healthy weight and eliminate health disparities in communities across the United States. The initiative is a project of NICHQ and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
- National Institutes of Health (NIH): Obesity Research. Scientific research on obesity prevention and treatment. Includes
Strategic Plan for NIH Obesity Research (2011).
- 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
Action Strategies Toolkit: A Guide for Local and State Leaders Working to Create Healthy Communities and Prevent Childhood Obesity, rev. ed. (2011).
Communities Creating Healthy Environments: Improving Access to Healthy Foods
and Safe Places in Communities of Color—A Progress Report. (2012).
Declining Childhood Obesity Rates—Where Are We Seeing the Most Progress? (2012). [Issue brief].
F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future. (2012). [Report]. Developed by Trust for America's Health and RWJF.
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).
Making the Connection: Linking Policies to Improve Public Safety with Preventing Childhood Obesity. (2012). [Report].
Obesity Prevention on a Budget: Low- and No-Cost Policy Options to Increase Healthy Eating and Active Living. (2011). [Toolkit].
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 Research Database.
- 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.
- 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. Includes
Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxes. (2012). [Policy brief].
Also see Rudd's legislation database.
Additional Electronic Publications
- Banghart P. 2012. Comprehensive Obesity Prevention in Early Childhood: Promising Federal and State Initiatives. New York, NY: National Center for Children in Poverty. [Report].
- Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). 2010. Preventive and Obesity-Related Services Available to Medicaid Enrollees: Report to Congress. Washington, DC: Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
- FOCUS on a Fitter Future. 2012. Expert Guidelines: Role of Psychologist in Assessment and Treatment of Obese Youth. Alexandria, VA: Children's Hospital Association. Also see the FOCUS document, Planning, Building and Sustaining a Pediatric Obesity Program: A Survival Guide (2010).
- Holt K, Wooldridge NH, Story M, Sofka D, eds. 2011. Bright Futures: Nutrition, 3rd ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). [Guidelines, Pocket guide]. Guidelines for nutrition screening, assessment, and supervision for each developmental period. Addresses nutrition issues and concerns, including obesity.
- Office of the Surgeon General. 2010. Surgeon General's Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation. Rockville, MD: Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). [Report].
- Patrick K, Spear B, Holt K, Sofka D, eds. 2001. Bright Futures in Practice: Physical Activity. Arlington, VA: National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health (NCEMCH). [Guidelines]. A chapter is devoted to obesity.
- Troy LM, Miller EA, Olson S, eds. 2011. Hunger and Obesity: Understanding a Food Insecurity Paradigm. Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. [Report].
- U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). 2010. Screening for Obesity in Children and Adolescents. Rockville, MD: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). [Recommendation statement, Supporting documents].
- Wendt M, Todd J. 2011. Effect of Food and Beverage Prices on Children's Weights. Washington, DC: Economic Research Service (ERS). [Report, Summary].
- Winterfeld A, Shinkle D, Morandi L. 2012. State Actions to Promote Healthy Communities and Prevent Childhood Obesity: Summary
and Analysis of Trends in Legislation. Denver, CO: National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). [Report].
- Young J, Sherrets D. 2011. Childhood Obesity: It's Everyone's Business, rev. ed. Washington, DC: National Business Group on Health. [Toolkit].
The databases listed below
are excellent tools for identifying data,
and programs about child and adolescent nutrition.
- 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).
- National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality (NICHQ): Be Our Voice Resource Library. Online catalog of publications and tools to help fight childhood obesity and promote physical activity and healthy eating in health care settings, communities, schools, and workplaces.
- Also see the MCH Library resource brief, Maternal and Child Health Literature and Research Databases and, in particular, the Food and Nutrition Information Center (FNIC) databases, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Series, the National Agricultural Library (NAL) Catalog (AGRICOLA), 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, the Prevention Research Centers (PRC), and the Shaping America's Youth (SAY) Program Registry.
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).
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.