These days, it seems as though everybody is talking about overweight and obesity. Why is it such a big deal?

One in three children is considered obese or overweight as reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overweight children tend to become overweight adults – In fact, 70-80% of overweight adolescents become overweight adults. This condition has significant impacts on social, emotional, and physical health of children and adults.

Overweight and obesity are caused by an energy imbalance. What does that mean? What you eat and drink is ENERGY IN. What you burn through physical activity is ENERGY OUT. We use this energy for simple everyday movements like breathing and digesting our food, and we also use energy for physical activities like walking or running. Your ENERGY IN and OUT don’t have to balance exactly every day – it’s the balance over time that is important. Weight gain happens when people eat and drink more calories than they burn.

Whether you’re at risk of becoming obese, currently overweight or at a healthy weight, you can take steps to prevent unhealthy weight gain and related health problems. Not surprisingly, the steps to prevent weight gain are the same as the steps to lose weight: daily exercise, a healthy diet, and a long-term commitment to watch what you eat and drink.

Use this section to learn about bringing healthy food and activity choices to life.