The numbers are scary. One-third of all U.S. children are either overweight, or dangerously close to becoming so. Since the 1970s, the percentage of overweight preschoolers has more than doubled, and it’s more than tripled in 6-11 year olds. This may not seem like that big a deal, but obesity can bring serious health problems – type 2 diabetes, asthma, hypertension...

Here’s the good news: according to a study by the nonprofit organization, America on the Move, children struggling with obesity don’t need to make huge life changes to see results.

A study of 200 families with at least one overweight child, recently published by the organization, found that cutting just 100 calories a day and walking just 2,000 extra steps, made a big difference. Two-thirds of the group that made those changes either maintained or reduced their Body Mass Index (BMI).

Where Can Families Begin?

  • Take a family walk. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more than half of the previous generation either biked or walked to school; now only 15 percent of school children do.
  • Talk to your kids about eating healthy. According to a recent study, also by America on the Move, 7 out of 10 kids get their information on how to be healthy from a parent.
  • No matter how much kids whine, reduce the amount of soda or juice they drink by one cup a day. Nutritionally, whole fruit is better than juice, any day. And calorie wise, juice stacks up there with soda – between 100-150 calories for an 8-ounce glass.
  • Limit screen time. According to the Institute of Medicine, the amount of time kids spend in front of a television or computer each day is directly tied to their likelihood of becoming overweight. Send kids outside for a game of kickball, go on a family bike ride, play a game of tag. Losing weight isn’t just about cutting calories – it’s about the calories you consume vs. the calories you expend.