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Contemporary Parenting Questions


Last updated on 09/22/08

What should I do if my child is overweight?

The percentage of overweight children in the United States is growing at an alarming rate; one out of three kids are now considered overweight or obese. Although some cases of overweight or obesity come because of a genetic disposition, many are due to unhealthy eating habits and lack of activity. Many kids are spending less time exercising, bike riding, or simply actively playing, and are spending more time in front of the TV, computer, or video-game console. Reduced recess time in schools only adds to the inactivity. Additionally, today’s families often take out or go to restaurants rather than prepare balanced homemade meals. Establishments like McDonalds have been sued over the unhealthy choices on their menus, but families continue to patronize them. Preventing kids from becoming overweight means adapting the way your family eats and exercises, and how you spend time together. Helping kids lead healthy lifestyles begins with parents who lead by example.

In the Jewish Community

Although no statistics show that obesity is more of a problem in the Jewish Community, it is obvious that the problem exists. With weekly Shabbos meals and Kiddushim, Jewish children have many opportunities to over indulge. Two or three day holidays present an even greater problem with two heavy meals served each day. Additionally, Jewish children learning an intense double curriculum have little time to play during the school day. By the time some children get home from school in the winter, it is already dark, hence an extreme lack of exercise. By encouraging the local schools to allow more active playtime and by serving the entire family healthy, balanced meals, the problems of overweight and obesity can be eliminated. Start now before it becomes a problem.

Use the following links to educate yourself about overweight and obesity. Learn why it is a problem, how to recognize the problem, and how to prevent the problem from ever happening.

Frequently Asked Links

Is weight a problem for kids?

Can being overweight cause health problems?

How are obesity and eating disorders related?

What is BMI and how can it be calculated?

What is the right weight for my child?

What is the right weight for my teen?

What is a metabolism?

Why isn’t my child an appropriate weight?

What should I do if my child is overweight?

How can I improve my child’s eating habits?

Is dieting ok for kids?

Why is exercise so important?

How much exercise is appropriate for my child?

Where can my teen learn about overweight and obesity?

How can a teen maintain a healthy weight?

How can a teen deal with negative feelings about weight?

Why is teasing harmful for overweight children?

Can obesity prevention programs in schools decrease the development of eating disorders?

How can I prevent overweight and obesity?

Related Articles

How Can I Feel Better About My Body?
It is normal to wish you could change something about your body. Find out more about these feelings in this article for kids.

Binge Eating Disorder

Kids who eat unusually large amounts of food - and feel guilty or secretive about it - could be struggling with an eating disorder called binge eating disorder.

Kids and Eating Disorders

Eating too little or deliberately throwing up after eating are two serious kinds of eating disorders. Find out more in this article for kids.


Mental Health Resources for the Jewish Community

Compiled by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

American Dietetic Association
The American Dietetic Association offers nutrition news, tips, resources for consumers and dietitians, and a find-a-nutrionist search tool. Call: (800) 877-1600

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.

Kids' Nutrition & Fitness Center

This is the place if you want to know more about eating right and being active.

Nutrition & Fitness Center

You know the importance of good nutrition and exercise, but do you know how to raise a healthy and active child? Get some practical advice and tips in this center.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The mission of the CDC is to promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability. Call: (800) 311-3435

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation's food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation. is the U.S. government's website about the MyPyramid Plan Food Guidance System. The site includes a tool to estimate what and how much you should eat from the different food groups by entering your age, gender, and activity level. The site also provides information on your diet quality and physical activity status by comparing a day's worth of foods eaten with current nutrition guidance.

American Council on Exercise (ACE)
ACE promotes active, healthy lifestyles by setting certification and education standards for fitness instructors and through ongoing public education about the importance of exercise.

Rabbi Horowitz does not endorse any external sites or monitor or approve content on these sites. When considering information presented here, you should consult your experts to determine what is best for you. Our sole purpose is to help you access information that Rabbi Horowitz and others have made available on the internet.


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