Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center

Obesity and Health living in Kids


Obesity is a growing problem in the US.  In fact the number of children who are obese has risen nearly 3 times in the past 30 years.  Some experts even believe this new generation may be the first in American history to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. 

In addition, obesity puts children at risk for health problems such as diabetes and heart disease as well as asthma and sleep apnea.  According to the CDC obesity is a leading cause of preventable death in America, second only to smoking. 

Lastly current studies show that if you whiled is overweight between the ages of 10-15 they have a 70% chance of being obese at 25. 


What is a healthy weight?

Pediatricians use body mass index (BMI) as a measure of appropriate body size in children.  Your child’s BMI is plotted on a growth char that compares them to all other children in the US for their age.

Children under the 5th percentile are considered underweight.  This means that 95% of children their age are heavier.

Healthy weight is considered between the 5th and 85th percentile.

Children between the 85th and 95th percentile are considered overweight.  This means at least 85% of kids their age weigh less than they do. 

Children are considered obese if they are above the 95th percentile. 

Here are a few examples from the CDC of how BMI would be represented on a growth chart:



Another way you can assess your child’s risk of becoming overweight or obese is to answer the following questions:





1. Does your child eat five or more fruits and vegetables per day?



2.  Does your child have a favorite fruit or vegetable that they eat every day?



3.  Does your child eat breakfast five times a week or




4.  Does your child watch TV, play video or computer games or play on an iphone/ipad for two hours a day or less?



5.  Does you child take gym class or participate in spots or dance in or outside of school 3 or more times per week?



6.  Does you child have a favorite sport of physical activity that they love to do?



7.  Does you child eat dinner at the table with the family at least once a week?



8.  Is your child’s room a “TV-free zone?”



9.  Does your child eat meals at the table with the TV turned off?



10.  Does your child drink water instead of soda, juice or other sweetened drinks?




How do they score?

Add up they number of “No’s” to see where your child’s risk is.


1 – 5 “No’s”                   Low to Medium risk

6 – 8 “No’s”                   High risk

9 – 10 “No’s”                 Very High risk


Strategies for Healthy Living

5 – 2 – 1 – 0

5 - Eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day! 

2 - Limit screen time to less than 2 hours per day.  Screen time includes TV, video games, computer games and devices like iphones or ipads.

1 - Get 1 hour of physical activity per day

0 – restrict soda, and sugar-sweetened drinks.  Instead, drink water or fat-free or 1% milk. 


If you would like some tips for how to implement 5-2-1-0 in your home, or help with meeting goals click on the links below.

3 Steps Toward Eating More Fruits and Vegetables

Tips for Encouraging Kids to Eat Fruits and Vegetables

Better Beverage Choices

Increasing Physical Activity

Decreasing Screen Time

Keep track of how you're doing with these printable Goal Trackers
         Eating Fruits and Vegetables
         Decreasing Screen Time
         Physical Activity