LAS VEGAS (KLAS)– September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, an opportunity to raise awareness and share information about obesity prevention. The Southern Nevada Health District’s Office of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion shares some tips and simple guidelines to help children develop healthy habits.

In Clark County, about 13% of high school students are obese and 15.9% are overweight. In Nevada, 32.2% of children entering kindergarten are already overweight or obese.

The SNHD is using this month to promote the American Academy of Pediatrics’ 5-2-1-0 evidence-based recommendation to provide a simple guideline to help children develop healthy habits.

The 5-2-1-0 guidelines include the following:

  • 5 fruits and vegetables each day
  • 2 hours or less of screen time each day
  • 1 hour of physical activity each day
  • 0 sugary beverages each day

“We know that children who are obese are more likely to be diagnosed with related chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, and they are also more likely be obese as adults,” said Dr. Fermin Leguen, District Health Officer for the Health District. “Promoting recommendations such as the 5-2-1-0 guidelines and providing the supporting resources to the community are central to our mission as the public health agency charged with protecting and promoting the health and well-being of Southern Nevada residents.”

According to the SNHD, racial and ethnic disparities in obesity highlight the need to address social determinants of health including poverty, education, and housing to remove health barriers.

Among Hispanic children, obesity prevalence is 25.6%, among non-Hispanic black children it is 24.2%, among non-Hispanic white children it is 16.1%, and among non-Hispanic Asian children it is 8.7%.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 19.3% or 14.4 million children in the U.S. are considered obese.

The SNHD provides free programs and resources to assist families in adopting healthier lifestyles. To find these programs, click here.