September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

Childhood obesity is a growing problem. Nearly 15 million children — that’s one out of five kids! — are considered obese1.

A childhood marked by obesity means today’s youth are facing problems once seen only in adults, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease2.

Availity logoThe most recent findings3 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) document some troubling trends for children and adolescents aged 2–19 years:
  • The prevalence of obesity was 19.7% and affected about 14.7 million children and adolescents.
  • Obesity prevalence was 12.7% among 2- to 5-year-olds, 20.7% among 6- to 11-year-olds, and 22.2% among 12- to 19-year-olds. Childhood obesity is also more common among certain populations.
    • Obesity prevalence was 26.2% among Hispanic children, 24.8% among non-Hispanic Black children, 16.6% among non-Hispanic White children, and 9.0% among non-Hispanic Asian children.
  • Obesity-related conditions include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, breathing problems such as asthma and sleep apnea, and joint problems.

What You Can Do

During National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, you can take action by sharing available resources with parents… guides and tools that can get children on a path to healthy eating and active play4. The following government resources promote physical activity and healthier eating for children and adolescents:

In addition, Highmark has a variety of educational resources on combatting childhood obesity that can be downloaded from the Provider Resource Center (PRC):

  • Childhood Obesity Bookmarks
  • Childhood Obesity Preventive Health Benefit
  • Preventive Health Reminder Poster

You can access those resources by going to the PRC, selecting EDUCATION/MANUALS from the left menu, and clicking Educational Resources – Member And Provider.


1Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile of the CDC sex-specific BMI-for-age growth charts .

2Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, .

3Read the CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief .

4U.S. Department of Agriculture, .

Highmark does not recommend particular treatments or health care services. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should determine the appropriate treatment and follow-up with your patient. Coverage of services is subject to the terms of each member’s benefit plan. Additionally, state laws and regulations governing health insurance, health plans and coverage may apply and will vary from state to state.