Childhood obesity is a public health issue across the country. Currently, one in four children and youth in Canada are overweight or obese. Addressing the factors that contribute to obesity early in a person’s life helps to reduce the likelihood of being overweight or obese in adolescence and adulthood.
What you will find
These resources provide Canadian and international information on childhood obesity to help you plan programs that promote healthy weights for children. For more information, please visit the Best Practices section for interventions related to preventing childhood obesity.
Note: Several provinces/territories and international jurisdictions have healthy weight strategies and guidelines that promote healthy weights across many populations and are not specific to children and youth. For this information, please see the topic page on healthy weights (adults).
A first step to planning a program or policy change on childhood obesity is to understand the topic through surveillance data.
- Chronic disease infobase Data Cubes interactive database. Public Health Agency of Canada.
- Overweight and obese youth (self-reported), 2013, Statistics Canada (2014).
- Body mass index, overweight or obese, self-reported, youth, by sex, data table. Statistics Canada (2014).
- Body mass index of children and youth, Statistics Canada (2013).
- Physical activity of Canadian children and youth: Accelerometer results from the 2007 to 2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey, Statistics Canada (2011).
- Obesity in Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Information (2011).
- Obesity estimates for children based on parent-reported versus direct measures, Statistics Canada (2011).
- The influence of childhood obesity on the development of self-esteem, Statistics Canada (2009).
- Developmental pathways leading to obesity in childhood, Statistics Canada (2009).
- Do lifestyle behaviours really differ between overweight and non-overweight girls and boys?, Canadian Institute for Health Information (2009).
- The nutritional habits of Métis children and youth in Canada: A preliminary examination, National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health (2012).
- Body mass index, overweight or obese, self-reported, youth, by sex, provinces and territories, data table. Statistics Canada (2014).
- Measured child body mass index (BMI), by age group and sex, household population aged 2 to 17 excluding pregnant females, Canadian Community Health Survey cycle 2.2, Canada and provinces, table with percentage data, 2005-2010. Statistics Canada (2011).
- Childhood overweight and obesity: Summary of evidence from the cost of obesity in Alberta report (PDF document), Alberta Health Services (2010).
- New Brunswick Health Indicators: Obesity in New Brunswick (PDF document), Office of the Chief Medical Health Office of Health (2012).
- Healthy child Manitoba: 2012 Report on Manitoba’s children and youth (PDF document), Healthy Child Manitoba.
- 2012-2013 Student Wellness Survey Data, (includes a chapter on healthy weights and lifestyles). New Brunswick Healthy and Inclusive Communities (2014).
- New Brunswick Health Indicators: Obesity in New Brunswick (PDF document), Chief Medical Officer of Health (2012).
- Keeping pace: Physical activity and healthy eating among children and youth: Key findings from the 2009-2010 Study (PDF document), Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness (2012).
- Addressing obesity in children and youth: Evidence to guide action for Ontario, Public Health Ontario (2013).
- Le poids corporel chez les enfants et adolescents du Québec : de 1978 à 2005 (French only). Examines the weight and obesity statistics and trends of Quebec children ages 2 to 17, comparing measured and self-reported prevalence data. Institut national de santé publique du Québec (2009).
Prince Edward Island
- Prince Edward Island health trends 2010 (PDF document), PEI Health and Wellness.
- Body mass index (BMI) for children and youth 2007 to 2009, Comparison of Canadian and American Children. Statistics Canada (2010).
- A picture of Australia’s children 2012, Australian Institute of Health and Wellness.
- Childhood obesity: An economic perspective (PDF document), Australian Government (2010).
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
- Health at a glance 2013 , Overweight and obesity among children and physical activity in children in Chapter 2
- Policy brief: OECD obesity update 2012 (PDF document).
- National child measurement programme: Changes in children’s body mass index between 2006/07 and 2011/12 (PDF document), National Obesity Observatory, National Health Service.
- National child and maternal health intelligence network, Public Health England (2015).
- Obesity and Overweight Adult, child and adolescent prevalence data on obesity and overweight. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Childhood obesity facts, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- State actions to reduce and prevent childhood obesity in schools and communities: Summary and analysis of trends in Legislation (PDF document), National Conference of State Legislatures (2014).
World Health Organisation
- Marketing of foods high in fat, salt and sugar to children: Update 2012-2013, Regional office for Europe.
- Towards a Healthier Canada – 2015 Progress Report on Advancing the Federal / Provincial / Territorial Framework on Healthy Weights, Public Health Agency of Canada (2016).
- Childhood obesity, Public Health Agency of Canada.
- Multi-Sectoral framework for action on the after-school time period (PDF document), Federal/Provincial/Territorial Physical Activity and Recreation Committee (2016).
- Promoting healthy weights video, Public Health Agency of Canada (2012).
- Healthy eating after school – Integrating healthy eating into after-school physical activity initiatives, Health Canada (2012).
- Our health our future – A National dialogue on healthy weights dialogue report, Government of Canada in collaboration with provincial and territorial partners (2011).
- Actions taken and future directions 2011: Curbing childhood obesity: A Federal, Provincial and Territorial framework for action to promote healthy weights, Report from Federal/Provincial/Territorial partners (2011).
- Children and physical activity scenarios project: Evidence-based visions of the future, Public Health Agency of Canada (2011).
- Curbing childhood obesity: A Federal, Provincial and Territorial framework for action to promote healthy weights, Framework from Federal/Provincial/Territorial partners, Public Health Agency of Canada (2010).
- Healthy weights initiative (PDF document), Health Services.
- EverActiveSchools, Alberta Government, Health and Physical Education Council, Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks & Wildlife foundation.
- ActionSchools!BC, Government of BC & Healthy Families BC.
- New Brunswick public health nutrition framework for action 2012-2016 (PDF document), Government of New Brunswick.
- Thrive! A plan for a healthier Nova Scotia: A policy and environmental approach to healthy eating and physical activity (PDF document), Department of Health and Wellness (2012).
- No time to wait: The healthy kids strategy, Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (2013).
- Australia’s healthy weight 2008: Australia’s future – The National action agenda for children and young people and their families, Department of Health (2008).
- EU action plan on childhood obesity 2014-2020 (PDF document), European Commission (2014).
- An EU-wide overview of community-based initiatives to reduce childhood obesity, European Commission: Public Health (2012).
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
- Local government action to tackle childhood obesity, Local Government Association (2016).
- Healthy lives, healthy people: A call to action on obesity in England, Government of United Kingdom (2011).
- Let’s move, campaign. Government of the United States, in collaboration.
- Childhood overweight and obesity: Strategies and solutions, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Childhood obesity-2012 update of legislative policy options, National Conference of State Legislatures (2013).
- Solving the problem of childhood obesity within a generation (PDF document), White House Task Force On Childhood Obesity, Report to the President (2010).
World Health Organization
- Physical Activity, Public Health Agency of Canada.
- Children and healthy eating, Health Canada.
- Eat well and be active educational toolkit, Health Canada.
- Obesity-Children: Protocol, Canadian Task Force on Preventative Health Care (2013).
- Alberta nutrition guidelines for children and youth (PDF document), Alberta Government (2012).
- Guidelines for food and beverage sales in BC Schools (PDF document), Ministry of Education and Healthy Families BC (2013).
- Addressing obesity in children and youth: Evidence to guide action for Ontario (PDF document), Public Health Ontario (2013).
- Savoir et agir : L’activité physique – le sport et les jeunes. Chapitre 2 : Lignes directrices d’activités physiques et sportives (PDF document) (French only). Guidelines for the nature, intensity, frequency and amount of exercise recommended for children and adolescents. Ministère de l’education, du loisir et du sport du Québec (2011).
- Early childhood obesity prevention policies, Institute of Medicine (2011).
- Chronic disease series – Obesity prevention in children, training module from the U.S. Center of Excellence for Training and Research Translation (2011).
- Youth physical activity guidelines Toolkit, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2011).
- Strategic high impact changes – Childhood Obesity National Support Team (PDF document), National Health Services (2011).
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
- Obesity: prevention and lifestyle weight management in children and young people, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2015).
- Promoting physical activity for children and young people, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (2009).
- Maternal and child nutrition, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (2008).
World Health Organization (WHO)
Selected reviews from HealthEvidence.org:
- Prevention of overweight and obesity in children and youth: A systematic review and meta-analysis (2015).
- Efficacy of technology-based interventions for obesity prevention in adolescents: A systematic review, (2014).
- Which type of sedentary behaviour intervention is more effective at reducing body mass index in children? A meta-analytic review, (2014).
- Childhood obesity prevention programs: Comparative effectiveness review and meta-analysis, (2013).
- The effect of participation in school-based nutrition education interventions on body mass index: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled community trials, (2013).
- Primary prevention of overweight in children and adolescents: A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of interventions aiming to decrease sedendary behaviour, (2012).
Search more systematic reviews.