DuPage County Health Department's latest publication on Childhood Obesity in DuPage County (PDF) is now available. Additional information on methods, statistics, and references can be found in the supplemental document (coming soon). For more health indicators in DuPage County, visit Impact DuPage.
What the Data Say
The obesity rate continues to hold steady among school-aged youth. In 2018-2019, more than one-in-seven (15.0 percent) kindergarten, sixth and ninth grade public school students in DuPage County had obesity. Additionally, 43.3 percent of students with obesity had an elevated blood pressure reading.
The obesity rate among children aged 2-to-4 years enrolled in DuPage County's Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program (16.9 percent in 2018) continues to exceed the national WIC rate (13.9 percent in 2016), stressing the need for early intervention. WIC is the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for women, infants, and children.
Suggested citation: Childhood Obesity in DuPage County. Wheaton (IL): DuPage County Health Department. July 2021.
What You Can Do
What Early Childhood Centers Can Do
- Provide nutritional education to parents.
- Provide a variety of nutritious foods and limit junk food and sugary drinks at snack time.
- Provide a dedicated time for physical activity.
- Complete the Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC) and implement an action plan. Training is available through INCCRA via We Choose Health.
- Explore and implement culturally appropriate programs and resources with equity and access, to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities.
- Follow the recommendations from Healthy Kids, Healthy Future. Training is available through Penn State Extension Childhood Obesity Prevention LMCC (PDF).
- Adopt the 5-4-3-2-1 Go!® message.
What Schools Can Do
- Conduct the School Health Index (SHI) assessment in your school and develop an action plan based on the results
- Assess the district's wellness policy using the WellSAT 3.0 Policy Assessment tool and incorporate improvements based on the recommendations
- Pursue Alliance for a Healthier Generation Healthy Schools Program recognition
- Host events and expand relationships with:
- Other community partners
- Adopt the 5-4-3-2-1Go!® message
What Parents Can Do
- Prepare and eat meals together as a family
- Offer healthy snacks, including lots of:
- Whole grains
- Serve reasonably-sized portions
- Drink lots of water and cut down on drinks with sugar
- Don't use food as a reward
- Be physically active daily as a family
- Limit screen time to 2 hours per day
- Be a role model for your child
What Healthcare Providers Can Do
- Healthcare providers and health systems can address unhealthy weight gain before it causes serious health problems. The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that children and adolescents aged 6 years and older be screened for obesity, and those with obesity be offered or referred to high quality weight management programs.
- Additional information and resources are available at:
What Employers Can Do
Complete the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Worksite Health ScoreCard or the American Heart Association's Health Achievement Index. Then, choose strategies to help improve your score.
What Everyone Can Do
- Share the 2018-2019 DuPage Obesity Report (PDF) in your community! Don't forget about your:
- Community groups
- Elected officials
- Faith-based leaders
- Healthcare providers
- Parent Teacher Association (PTA) members
- School administrators
- Get involved with FORWARD, a coalition of partners dedicated to reversing the obesity trend in DuPage County by educating children and families about the importance of eating healthy and being physically active.
- Use the American Heart Association's Life's Simple 7to make simple changes:
- Control cholesterol
- Eat better
- Get active
- Lose weight
- Manage blood pressure
- Reduce blood sugar
- Stop smoking
- Take one-to-two minutes to find out if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes.
Importance of Reducing Childhood Obesity Rates
Reducing obesity rates is critical to improving the health of DuPage County. Obesity during childhood and adolescence may lead to health problems such as:
- Fatty liver disease
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Joint problems
In addition, obesity in children and adolescents may be associated with:
- Behavioral problems
- Low self-esteem
- Lower academic achievement
- Lower quality of life
Children who have obesity are more likely to become adults with obesity. Changes made now will not only affect today's children but will have a positive, compounding effect as those children enter adulthood and have their own families.
Definition of Obesity and Body Mass Index
The term "obesity" refers to bodyweight that's greater than what is considered healthy for a certain height. Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age and sex. For adults, a BMI of 30.0 and above is obese.
How can you tell if your weight is healthy? Calculate your BMI and then follow up with your doctor for further evaluation if recommended based on the results.
Historic DuPage County Obesity Data
Alleman, E, et al. (2017). A Collaborative Approach to Childhood Obesity Surveillance From a Local Health Department. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 23(6), e17-e20. DOI: 10.1097/phh00000000000615
The 5-4-3-2-1 Go!® message was created by the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC). 5-4-3-2-1 Go!® is a registered trademark and Copyright © 2004 Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. All rights reserved.