Make Small Changes to Reduce the Risk of Childhood Obesity


September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Did you know that obesity now affects 1 in 6 children and adolescents in the U.S.? An American Association of Pediatrics study shows childhood obesity continues to rise. Parents play an important role in preventing childhood obesity. You can help your kids develop smart food and exercise habits. And use your TRICARE benefit to help keep them healthy.

Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for physical, emotional, and psychological problems according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children and teens with weight problems are more likely to grow up to be adults with weight problems. Adult obesity links to serious health conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

The causes of obesity are complex. Some contributing factors include disease, genetics, medications, and behaviors. Children also learn eating habits by watching the adults around them. Small changes to sleep routine, exercise, and diet can make a big difference in helping to maintain a healthy weight. Follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to help your child reach and maintain a healthy weight. Here are a few small behavior shifts that can help:

  • Offer nutritious meals and snacks (vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy, and whole-grain products)
  • Make favorite meals with healthier ingredients
  • Try new, healthy recipes
  • Encourage physical activity
  • Limit sugar-sweetened drinks
  • Reduce time in front of TV and computer screens

Body mass index (BMI) is a calculation that estimates whether a person is overweight or obese. Your TRICARE coverage includes behavioral interventions for childhood obesity. A TRICARE-authorized providerAn authorized provider is any individual, institution/organization, or supplier that is licensed by a state, accredited by national organization, or meets other standards of the medical community, and is certified to provide benefits under TRICARE. There are two types of TRICARE-authorized providers: Network and Non-Network. DS must provide these services. They include activities like:

  • Setting weight loss goals
  • Diet and physical activity guidance
  • Addressing barriers to change
  • Active self-monitoring
  • Strategies to maintain lifestyle changes

TRICARE covers well-child care for children from birth through age 6. When you take your children well-child exams, you can get health guidance and counseling. These office visits offer a chance to talk to your doctor if you have concerns about your child’s weight.

How can TRICARE help you in combating childhood obesity in your home? Visit TRICARE covered services and type in obesity treatment, weight control, or nutritionist in the search box to learn more. You can give your kids a solid start to a long and healthy life.

Last Updated 6/23/2020